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THE 



History of Money in America 



FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE ESTABLISHMENT 



OF THE CONSTITUTION 



BY 



ALEXANDER DEL MAR 



FORMERLY DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF STATISTICS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ; 

MINING COMMISSIONER TO THE MONETARY COMMISSION OF 1876 ; AUTHOR 

OF A " HISTORY OF MONETARY SYSTEMS, ' "tHE SCIENCE OF 



NEW YORK 

THE CAMBRIDGE ENCYCLOPEDIA COMPANY 

62 Reade Street 

1899 




COPYRIGHT 
BY ALEX, DEL MAB 

1899. 



3q. 



INTRODUCTION. 

THE monetary systems of the present day are an historical devel- 
opment; they descend from the principles enunciated in the 
great Mixt Moneys case of 1604, the circumstances connected with 
the Spanish Conquest of America; the Spanish Free Coinage Act of 
1608, the British Free Coinage Act of 1666 and the invention of the 
coinage and printing presses. It would therefore seem necessary 
that writers on the subject should possess some familiarity with these 
topics. But though the author of the present work has consulted 
many treatises relating to monetary systems he has never yet met 
with one which evinced the least grasp of these various historical 
elements. Some of them contain information relative to the details 
of monetary issues. These, when carefully collated, are of value to 
the historian and commentator. But for the most part books on money 
are filled with doctrines, or worse yet, mere dilutions of doctrines, 
without history or experience to support them; doctrines based on 
words, on definitions, on figments of the mind, false, worthless, mis- 
leading, mischievous and hurtful. 

The legal, political and social character of Money; its influence 
upon the public welfare; the prominent place it has occupied in the 
annals of the past; the countless experiments that have been made 
in the fabrication and emission of its symbols; the civic struggles 
that have centred upon its control; and the learning that has been 
devoted to its principles by philosophers, legislators and jurists, surely 
claim for its historical treatment some better preparation than doc- 
trines. The Father of the Inductive method was born more than 
three centuries ago; yet it is only now that his method is being ap- 
plied to the study of Money. 

I. — The Mixt Moneys case decided that Money was a Public Meas- 
ure, a measure of value, and that, like other measures, it was necessary 
in the public welfare that its dimensions or volume should be limited, 
defined and regulated by the State. The whole body of learning left 
us by the ancient and renascent world was invoked in this celebrated 
dictum: Aristotle, Paulus, Bodin and Budelius were summoned to its 



Vin INTRODUCTION. 

support; the Roman law, the common law and the statutes all upheld 
it; "the State alone had the right to issue money and to decide of 
what substances its symbols should be made, whether of gold, silver, 
brass, or paper. "Whatever the State declared to be money, was 
money." That was the gist of it. (For a full account of this famous 
case, see the author's "Science of Money," ch. iv.) 

This decision greatly alarmed the merchants of London, and for 
more than half a century after it was enunciated they were occupied 
with efforts to defeat its operation. In 1639 they succeeded in get- 
ting the matter before the Star Chamber; but their plans were rejected. 
The Revolution of 1648 postponed their projects. The Restoration 
of 1660 revived them. Their final success dates from 1666. Mean- 
while other things had happened. 

II. — Inthecontractswhichitmade with Columbus, Cortes, Pizarro, 
De Soto and the other commanders whom it sent forth to discover 
or plunder America, the Crown of Spain always stipulated that the 
Quinto — one-fifth — of the spoil should be reserved for the king. The 
remainder, if of gold or silver, might then be melted down and 
stamped with its weight by public officials and then shipped to Spain 
for coinage. At each step of these operations the Crown exacted a 
fresh tax, seigniorage, derecho, haberia, etc., so that by the time 
the plunderer or miner got back his metal, one-third to one-half of it 
had found its way into the royal coffers. The delay and risk of ship- 
ment to Spain supported a clamour for Colonial coinage and Colonial 
coinage resulted in an agitation to abolish all coinage fees except the 
Crown's Quinto: an agitation which ended in securing the "free" 
coinage edict of 1608. Under this edict all gold and silver which had 
paid the Quinto on acquisition or production, was required to be 
coined by the Royal officials for private individuals free of charge 
and without limit. The granting of such a privilege bespeaks the 
employment of coining machinery, for the Crown could hardly have 
afforded it so long as coins had to be made by hand. As a matter of 
fact coining machinery was employed in Italy and Spain about the 
middle of the i6th century. 

III. — Before the Crown of Spain proclaimed "free" coinage for 
Quinto-paid metal in America, much of the metal plundered from the 
natives or acquired through the repartimento system, of which more 
anon, was smuggled out of the Colonies and found its way to Holland, 
France and England. With "free" coinage in Spanish America this 
movement slackened, and this cessation of the illicit trade in the 
precious metals furnished a pretext to the London merchants for re- 



INTRODUCTION. IX 

newing their demands upon the Crown for gratuitous and unlimited 
coinage. But their main argument was supplied by the East India 
Company, who were anxious to ship silver to India in exchange for 
gold, a transaction that at that time afforded a profit of cent per 
cent. Behind this argument there was bribery of the court officials, 
of the king's mistress, Barbara Villiers, and even of the king (Charles 
II.,) himself. After several years of intrigue, the merchants finally 
succeeded; and in 1666 was enacted that "free" coinage law which 
practically altered the monetary systems of the world and laid the 
foundation of the Metallic theory of money. The specific effect of 
this law was to destroy the Royal prerogative of coinage, nullify the 
decision in the Mixt Moneys case and inaugurate a future series of 
commercial panics and disasters which down to that time were totally 
unknown. 

IV. — The Spanish Crown rewarded its Conquistadores and their 
followers not with grants of land in America but with grants of In- 
dians, nominally as vassals, but practically as slaves. These grants 
were called repartimientos, afterwards encomiendas. They virtually 
awarded to the grantee the right to seize upon a specified number of 
the natives and compel them to produce gold and silver for nothing. 
Millions of lives were thus granted away and millions of ducats were 
the result; but besides the lives they cost, these millions cost nothing 
to the Spaniards, whose acquisitions of the precious metals, whether 
by plunder or through their repartimientos, had therefore no relation 
to that "cost of production " which forms the fallacious basis of the 
Metallic theory. 

V. — It has been already intimated that coining machinery was em- 
ployed in Italy and Spain during the i6th century. Evelyn, in his 
work on Medals, asserts that Jerome Cardon, who died in 1576, de- 
scribed a coining press used in theVenetian mint, "which both stamped, 
cut and rounded money by one operation only." This device is also 
mentioned by Benevenuto Cellini, who died in 1570. Previous to the 
invention of coining machinery, an ordinary workman could turn out 
not more than 40 or 50 coins a day. With the laminating-mill and 
screw-press, which was employed in Spain so early as 1548, he could 
turn out several thousand coins a day. These labour-saving machines 
entirely changed the relations of Money to exchange and society; a 
revolution which was still further advanced by the application of the 
printing press to the issues of Money, the earliest examples of which, 
within the scope of the author's researches, were the pasteboard 
(embossed) dollars of Leyden issued in 1572. 



X INTRODUCTION. 

VI. — The invention of coining machinery had still another im- 
portant consequence: it multiplied counterfeits, not necessarily base 
coins, but forged coins containing as much or more fine metal than 
the genuine ones; but metal that had not paid the Quinto. In 1569 
Phillip Mastrelle, who brought a coining press from France into Eng- 
land, was detected in making coins on his own account, an offense 
for which he was executed. Fenelon states that in 1574 certain Ger- 
mans, Hollanders and Frenchmen, in England, were detected in 
forging a million crowns of the coins of France, Spain and Flanders; 
and that this was done as a political measure, with the connivance 
of some of the ministers of Queen Elizabeth. The Marquis de Ta- 
vannes assures us that Salcede, who was executed at Paris in 1582 
had grown rich from the profits of what he termed forgery, but what, 
according to the Metallic school, was really only justifiable private 
coinage; because the forged coins contained more silver than the 
genuine. These offenses could only have been profitable when com- 
mitted with the aid of coining machinery, whose influence upon ex- 
change and society must have become in this manner greatly aug- 
mented. (" Barbara Villiers," p. 18.) 

With this brief Introduction the author commends his book to the 
indulgent public. Should his health permit, it will be followed by 
the "History of Money in America, from the Adoption of the Con- 
stitution to the present time," and this will form the last of a series 
of monetary histories, which, commencing with a History of the 
Precious Metals, and followed by a History of Monetary Systems, 
now embraces all the principal States of the world, both ancient and 
modern. 



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HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. 

Brief review of the financial condition of Europe at the period of the Discovery — 
Dearth of metallic money — Motive of Columbus' expedition: to discover and obtain 
gold — Expeditions of Cortes and Pizarro — Expedition of De Soto — This was essen- 
tially a charter to murder, torture and enslave the natives of America, in order to 
obtain gold for the Crown of Spain — Opinions of Baron von Humboldt and Sir Arthur 
Helps. 

THE History of Monetary Systems in America can best be told 
after clearing the ground with a brief review of the monetary 
condition and circumstances of the states of Europe at the time when 
America was discovered. Strictly speaking, these circumstances 
would carry us back quite to the beginning of metallic money in 
Greece; but of this event a full account will be found in the author's 
previous works. Suffice it to say in this place that after many experi- 
ments with coins of gold and silver in the Greek and Roman republics, 
these metais had been so far abandoned as money that the measure 
of value in those states was eventually made to depend less upon the 
quantity of metal contained in the coins, than upon the number of 
coins emitted and kept in circulation by the state. The integer of 
these systems was called in Greek, nomisma, in Latin, numisma, both 
of which terms relate to that prescription of law which conserved and 
emphasized the numerical feature of the system in each state. Such 
integer consisted of the whole sum of money; not upon any fraction 
of it. ' 

Upon the relinquishment of these systems, both the Greek states 
and the republic of Rome again committed themselves to metallic 
systems, this time with open mints or private coinage ; the consequence 
of which was the gradual concentration of wealth in the hands of a 

• Paulus, in the Digest. 



2 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA, 

few persons, a circumstance which powerfully assisted the downfall 
of the state. Upon the assumption of imperial power over the Eu- 
ropean world by Julius Caesar and especially by Augustus, private 
coinage, or the issuance of "gentes" coins, was at once forbidden 
and the state once more assumed the control of money, which, although 
the pieces were still made of the precious metals, was so regulated as 
to constitute a more or less equitable measure of value: the principal 
means employed in this regulation being the imposition of mine-royal- 
ties and a seigniorage or "retinue" upon coinage, coupled with a 
localization of the bronze and sometimes also of the silver issues. 
This highly artificial system, though it lasted several centuries, gave 
way when the subject kingdoms and provinces of Rome revolted from 
her control and established themselves as independent or partly in- 
dependent states ; a movement that began with the so-called Barbarian 
uprisings of the fifth century and was completely consummated when 
Constantinople fell in 1204. 

At this period the quantity of money in circulation, outside of the 
Moslem states, was extrerriely small ; according to Mr. William Jacob, 
the vast acquisitions of the Empire had disappeared chiefly through 
wear and tear, coupled with the lack of fresh supplies of the precious 
metals from the mines. Much of these metals had been taken as spoil 
by the Moslems and transported to their various empires in the Orient; 
much had been absorbed and sequestered by the temples and religious 
houses of the West ; and much had also been hidden and lost in secret 
receptacles. It was estimated by Gregory King in 1685 that the 
whole stock of the precious metals, in coin and plate, in Europe, at 
the period of the Discovery of America in 1492 did not exceed ^3^,- 
000,000 in value; and to this estimate Mr. Jacob, after the most 
careful researches, lent his full support. The population of Europe 
at that period could hardly have exceeded thirty millions ; so that the 
quantity of coin and plate did not much exceed in value j£i, or say 
$5 per capita. Of this amount it could hardly be supposed that more 
than one-half consisted of coins. The low level of prices at this pe- 
riod fully corroborates this • view. Moreover, there was nothing to 
alleviate the scarcity of money; no means of accelerating its move- 
ment from hand to hand, and so of increasing its velocity or efficiency ; 
no substitutes for coins; no negotiable instruments; no banks ex- 
cept those of the Italian republics; few or no good roads; no rapid 
means of communication; little peace or security; and no credit. 
Since the fall of the Roman empire every device by means of which 
this inadequate and always sinking Measure of Value could be en- 



THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. 3 

larged had been tried, but in vain. The ratio of value between gold 
and silver in the coins had been altered by the kings of the western 
states with a frequency that almost defies belief. The coins had been 
repeatedly degraded and debased; clipping and counterfeiting were 
offences so common that notwithstanding the severestpenalties, they 
were often committed by persons of the highest respectability, by 
prelates, by feudal noblemen and even by sovereign kings. The 
emission of leather moneys had been repeatedly attempted, but the 
general insecurity was too great and the condition of credit too low 
to admit of any extensive issues of this kind of money. Bills of ex- 
change known to the East Indians as hoondees and familiar to the 
Greeks and Romans of the republican periods, had from the same 
cause almost entirely fallen into disuse. The cause was the low state 
of credit. The social state itself, so far as it depended upon that 
exchange of labour and its products which is impossible without the 
use of money, was upon the point of dissolution, when Columbus of- 
fered to the Crown of Castile his project for approaching the rich 
countries of the Orient by sailing westward. 

What was the object of thus seeking Cathay and Japan? To dis- 
cover them? They had long been discovered and were well known 
both to the Moslems, who had established subject states in the Orient, 
and to the Norsemen, who traded eastward with Tartary and India, 
and had even voyaged westward to the coasts of Labrador and Mas- 
sachusetts. The Italians had long traded wath the Orient through 
Alexandria and had even sent Marco Polo into China. No. The voy- 
age of Columbus was not to discover Cathay, but to plunder it; to 
plunder it of those precious metals, to the use of which the Roman 
empire had committed all Europe and from the absence of which its 
various states were now suffering the throes of social decay and dis- 
solution. 

The terms which Columbus demanded and the Crown conceded in 
its contract with him, is a proof of this position. He demanded one- 
eighth of all the profits of the voyage. To this the Crown consented, 
after making a better provision for itself, by requiring that in the 
first place one-fifth of all the treasure found or captured in the lands 
approached should be reserved for the king. The terms of this con- 
tract are given more fully in the author's " History of the Precious 
Metals," and therefore they need not be repeated here. From begin- 
ning to end it was essentially a business bargain ; its object was not geo- 
graphical discovery, but gold and silver; itsaim was notthe dissemi- 
nation of the Christian religion, but the acquisition of plunder and 



4 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

especially that kind of plunder of which the Spanish states at that 
period stood in the sorest need. 

Said the illustrious Von Humboldt: "America was discovered, not 
as has been so long falsely pretended, because Columbus predicted 
another Continent, but because he sought by the west a nearer way 
to the gold mines of Japan and the spice countries in the southeast 
of Asia,"* The expeditions of Cortes and Pizarro had precisely the 
same objects: to discover and acquire the precious metals, without 
permitting any considerations of religion or humanity to stand in 
the way of these objects. 

Forty-five years after the Discovery of America the Crown of Spain 
made a contract with De Soto similar to that with Columbus. It will 
be instructive to examine its details. This document is dated Val- 
ladolid, April 20, 1537. It provides that De Soto shall be paid a sal- 
ary of 1500 ducats (each, of the weight of about a half-sovereign or 
quarter-eagle of the present day,) and 100,000 maravedis for each 
one of three fortresses which he is to erect in the " Indies." To the 
alcade of the expedition it awards a salary of 200 gold pesos. De 
Soto may take with him free of duty (almojarifazgo) negro slaves to 
work the mines. All salaries except that of the alcade are to be paid 
from the proceeds of the enterprise, so that in case of its failure, there 
will be nothing to pay. Of gold obtained from mines, the king is to 
receive during the first year one-tenth, during the second year one- 
ninth, and so on until the proportion is increased to one-fith; but of 
gold obtained by traffic or plunder, he is always to receive a fifth. 
De Soto shall not be required to pay any taxes. He shall have the 
entire disposal of the Indians. There shall be reserved 100,000 
maravedis a year for a hospital for the Spaniards, which shall be free 
from taxes. No priests or attorneys shall accompany the expedition, 
except the alcade and such priests as may be appointed by the Crown. 
After the king's fifth is laid aside from the spoils of war, and the ransom 
of caciques, etc. , then one-sixth shall go to De Soto and the remain- 
der divided among the men. In case of the death of a cacique, 
whether by murder, public execution, or disease, one-fifth of his prop- 
erty shall go to the king, then one-half of the remainder also to the 
king, leaving four-tenths to the expedition. Of treasure taken in 
battle or by traffic, one-fifth shall go to the king; of treasure plun- 
dered from native temples, graves, houses or grounds, one-half to 



s <• 



Fluctuations of Gold," Berlin, 1838. American edition, 1899, p. 10. 



THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA. 5 

the king without discount, the remainder to the discoverer. Signed, 
Charles, The King. ' 

Here is a charter to murder, torture and enslave human beings, to 
despoil temples and to desecrate graves. It is signed by the King 
of Spain who was also the Emperor of Germany; it is committed to 
a swash-buckler who by the most infamous means had made his for- 
tune with Pizarro in Peru; it is as sordid a document as ever was 
penned ; a disgrace to Spain, to Christianity, to civilization. It plainly 
and unequivocally lays bare the motive of this expedition. This was 
not to discover or explore North America, but to plunder it of gold 
and silver, to replenish the coffers of the king, to provide those 
blood-stained metals out of which man, in retrogressive periods, is 
obliged, through his own degeneracy and distrust of his fellow-men, 
to fabricate his Measure of Value. Said Sir Arthur Helps, the ac- 
complished historian of the Spanish Conquest of America: "The 
blood-cemented walls of the Alcazar of Madrid might boast of being 
raised upon a complication of human suffering hitherto unparallelled 
in the annals of mankind. . . . Each ducat spent upon these palaces, 
was, at a moderate computation, freighted with ten human lives."* 
Let us be still more moderate and say one human life to the ducat: 
even this was sufficiently atrocious. 

' This document appears in full in the New York Historical Magazine for February. 
1861. (Br. Mu. Press mark, P. P. 6323.) 
* "The Conquerors of America and their Bondsmen," London, 1857, in, 215. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE CONQUEST 

Gold the first inquirj'of Columbus — Its fatal significance to the natives — Columbus' 
second voyage — The mines of Cibao — Columbus proposes to ship the natives as slaves 
to Spain — Sufferings of the colonists — Their search for gold — Their disappointment 
and cruelty — Columbus ships four cargoes of natives to Spain as slaves — He hunts 
the natives with bloodhounds — Despair of the natives — Columbus reduces them all to 
vassalage — Their rapid exhaustion and extinction — Story of the cacique Hatuey — The 
golden calf — Cruelty of Ovando — Death of Queen Isabella — Her terrible legacy to 
Ferdinand — Columbus dies in poverty and debt — Forty thousand natives dragged from 
the Bahamas and condemned to the mines — Character of the gold-seekers. 

NO sooner had Columbus taken formal possession of the island of 
Hispaniola than he asked the wondering natives for gold. 
This fatal word, so fraught with misfortune to the aborigines that it 
might fittingly furnish an epitaph for their race, and so tainted with 
dishonour to their conquerors that four centuries of time have not 
sufficed to remove its stigma, seems to have been literally the first 
verbal commuuication from the Old World to the New. 

Some of the islanders had a few gold ornaments about them. ' ' Poor 
wretches" (says Navarette) "if they had possessed the slightest gift 
of prophecy, they would have thrown these baubles into the deepest 
sea!" They pointed south and answered, " Cubanacan," meaning 
the middle of Cuba. 

Shortly after the discovery, Columbus was wrecked on the coast of 
Cuba, and he sent to the neighbouring cacique, Guacanagari, to in- 
form him of his misfortune. The good chief was moved to tears by 
the sad accident, and with the labour of his people lightened the 
wrecked vessel, removed the effects to a place of safety, stationed 
guards around them for their better security, and then offered Co- 
lumbus all of his own property to make good any loss which the lat- 
ter had sustained. 

Touched by this unparallelled kindness, Columbus thus expressed 
himself of these Indies: "They are a loving uncovetous people, so 
docile in all things that, I assure your Highnesses, I believe in all the 
world there is not a better people or a better country ; they love their 



THE CONQUEST. 7 

neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest way in the 
world of talking, and always with a smile." 

In return for their hospitality and loving kindness, the Spanish 
captain resolved to establish a colony among them, having found such 
goodwill and such signs of gold. He built a fort, called it La Navi- 
dad, left forty adventurers in it, among them an Irishman and an 
Englishman, and sailed to Spain. 

The first thing done, after his return home — the recital of his won- 
drous story, his reception at the Court of Spain, and the Te Deum — 
was to obtain a grant of the newly-found domain and all its contents, 
animate and inanimate, from the Pope of Rome. These objects were 
effected by a Bull, dated May, 1499. 

In September, 1493, Columbus set forth again, this time with sev- 
enteen vessels and 1500 men. 

He found La Navidad destroyed, and his forty colonists missing. 
According to the cacique, Guacanagari, the Spaniards had made a 
raid, probably for gold, upon a tribe of the interior, and notwith- 
standing the advantages of their arms, had been defeated and killed 
to a man. Columbus built another fort in another part of the island, 
called it Isabella, and at once gave his attention to the subject of 
gold. 

" Hearing of the mines of Cibao, he sent to reconnoitre them ; and 
the Indios, little foreseeing what was to come of it, gave gold to the 
Spanish messengers. Columbus accordingly resolved to found a 
colony at Cibao." 

In January, 1494, Columbus sent to the joint sovereigns of Spain, 
by the hands of Antonio de Torres, the Receiver of the colony, an 
account of his second voyage, with recommendations for the consid- 
eration and approval of Los Reyes. 

After the complimentary address, it begins with the reasons why 
the admiral had not been able to send home more gold. His people 
have been ill; it was necessary to keep guard, etc. "ZT,? has done 
well,'" is written in the margin by order of Los Reyes. 

He suggests the building of a fortress near the place where gold 
can be got. Their Highnesses approve: " This is well, and so it must 
be done. " 

He then suggests to make slaves of the Indios, and to ship some 
of them to Spain, to help pay for the expenses of the expedition. 
The answer to this atrocious project is evasive, as though Los Reyes 
did not wish to wound so valued a servant by a point blank refusal. 
It is : ' ' Suspended for the presetit. " 



8 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Money was very welcome at the Spanish Court, where there was 
more show than maravedis; but Los Reyes were not yet prepared to 
obtain it by sanctioning the enslavement of an innocent and friendly 
people. On the other hand, Columbus was eager for the measure. 

While de Torres was at the Court with these recommendations, 
Columbus' colony fared badly on the island. The provisions which 
they had brought with them failed, and white men were threatened 
with starvation, where the Indios lived without effort. To their great 
disgust the Spaniards had to go to work, and till the earth for bread, 
instead of scouring it, as they had expected, for gold. 

"The rage and vexation of these men, many of whom had come 
out with the notion of finding gold ready for them on the sea shore, 
may be imagined. . . . The colonists, however, were somewhat 
cheered, after a time, by hearing of goldmines, and seeing specimens 
of 'ore' brought from thence; and the admiral went himself, and 
founded the fort of St. Thomas, in the mining district of Cibao." 

It is needless to say that, without the establishment of any perma- 
nent sources of supplies, the gold hunters failed in their enterprise, 
and most of them lost their lives. "They went straggling over the 
country; they consumed the provisions of the poor Indians, aston- 
ishing them by their voracious appetites; waste, rapine, injury and 
insult followed in their steps." 

Worn out with their sufferings, the miserable Indios "passed from 
terror to despair," and threatened the Spanish settlement. Columbus 
sallies forth, routs the Indios of Macorix, and captures the majority, 
four shiploads of whom he sends to Spain, February 24, 1495, as 
slaves. These were the very ships that brought out the evasive re- 
ply of Los Reyes to Columbus' request for leave to enslave the na- 
tives. 

After this, Columbus starts upon another expedition, at the head 
of 400 cavalry, clad in steel, armed with arquebuses, and attended 
by bloodhounds. He is opposed by 100,000 Indios. Their soft and 
naked bodies not being proof against horses, fire-arms, or ferocious 
dogs, a horrible carnage ensues, and another bloody installment is 
paid towards the cost of gold. Columbus captures the cacique, Ca- 
onabo, through the vilest treachery, and imposes a tribute of gold 
upon the entire population of Hispaniola. 

The tribute is as follows: Every Indio above fourteen years old, 
who was in the provinces of the mines, or near to these provinces, 
was to pay every three months a little bellfull of gold; and all other 
Indios an arroba of cotton. 



THE CONQUEST. 9 

When this unreasonable tribute was imposed, Guarion^x, cacique 
of the Vega Real, said that his people did not know where to find 
the gold, and offered in its place to cultivate a huge farm, fifty-five 
leagues long, covering the whole island, and to produce therefrom 
enough corn to feed the whole of Castile. P^or Indio! This was, 
indeed, a suggestion of despair. Hispaniola, at the utmost, did not 
contain more than 1,200,000 Indies, man, woman, and child. Castile 
contained a population of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000. An attempt to feed 
a population so large by one so small, and at a distance of 4,000 
miles, could only have ended in failure. But Guarion^x might as 
well have made this as any other proposal. What their Catholic 
Majesties wanted was not bread but gold; and this is what, in their 
names, Columbus was bent upon obtaining. Yet however much he 
desired it, the gold could not be collected, simply because there were 
no gold mines of any consequence, only some poor washings, in His- 
paniola, from whence it might be got. Columbus was, therefore, 
obliged to change the nature of his oppressions. This was done by 
reducing the whole native population to vassalage; and thus, in the 
year of our Lord 1496, was begun the system of repartimientos in 
America. ' Such was the reward for the unparallelled kindness of 
good Guacanagari, and for his loving, uncovetous people, "who al- 
ways spoke with a smile." 

Reduced to a condition of vassalage, infinitely worse than slavery, 
the Indios fell into the profoundest sadness, and bethought them- 
selves of the desperate remedy of attempting to starve out their 
masters by refusing to sow or plant anything. The wild scheme re- 
acted upon themselves. The Spaniards did, indeed, suffer from 
famine; but power, exercised in the crudest manner, enabled them to 
elude the fate which had been intended for them; whilst the Indios 
died in great numbers of hunger, sickness and misery. 

In the early part of 1496, Columbus discovered a gold mine in the 
south-eastern part of Hispaniola. On his return to Spain in the same 
year he sent out orders to his brother Bartholomew to build a fort 
there. This was done and the place called San Domingo. From 
this port Bartholomew sailed out to Xaragua, east of the modern 

' The repartimiento, afterwards the encofnienda, was derived from the feudal ten- 
ures of Spain. It was a grant of Indios (not including land) to render fixed tribute, 
or personal services, or both, during the life of the encomiendero or suzerain. This 
was afterwards extended to two, three, four, five and six lives, and was greatly abused. 
Consult Irv'ing's "Conquest of Granada," vol. i, pp. 145, 164, 173, 197, 198, and iv, 
p. 353 ^^ ^eq. 



lO HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Port-au-Prince, the only unconquered portion of the island. He re 
duced it to vassalage and demanded tribute in gold. The cacique 
Bohechio pleaded that there was no gold in his dominions; so the 
tribute had to be commuted in cotton and cassaba-bread. Returning 
to Fort Isabella, Baatholomew found that 300 of his followers had 
died from hunger and disease, the first considerable installment of the 
myriads of Spaniards who subsequently perished in the same crimi- 
nal search for the precious metals. 

In 1498 Columbus again set forth from Spain — this time with eight 
ships and about 900 men. Upon his arrival at San Domingo he sent 
five of these ships to Spain laden with 600 slaves. 

The Court of Spain — at first conditionally, as though it hesitated 
to thwart its favourite commanders, afterwards absolutely, when it 
found that none of them were above the practice, and that all evaded 
the conditions — disapproved of enslaving the Indies. Its objection to 
this transaction of Columbus was that the captives were not taken 
in war, and it marked the severity of its displeasure by superseding 
Columbus in his command and ordering him home. 

The officer choosen to replace him was Ovando. In the instructions 
given to this knight A. D. i5oi,hewas ordered to treat the Indios justly, 
and pay them one golden peso a year for their labour in getting gold. 
Between subjecting themselves to these conditions and living in a 
state of slavery, there could have been to the Indios but little choice, 
even if it had been accorded to them. It is due to the Spanish Crown 
to say that deceived by the reports of the over-sanguine gold-hunters, 
it supposed that gold was easy of acquisition in the West Indies, and 
that a moderate amount of involuntary labour on the part of the 
natives would suffice to produce what was demanded of them. 

Ovando left Spain in 1502 with a score or more vessels, and 2,500 
persons. As these vessels neared the shore of San Domingo, the 
colonists ran down to hear the news from home, and, in return, to 
narrate that a lump of gold of extraordinary size had recently been 
obtained on the island. It had been picked up by a native woman 
and was estimated to have been worth 1,350,000 maravedis. Nothing 
more clearly reveals the character of these expeditions and the per- 
sons who composed them, than a brief relation of the fatal conse- 
quences of this announcement. Ovando's people no sooner landed 
than they ran off to the placers, where, in a short time, more than 
1,000 of the 2,500 perished miserably from hunger and disease. 

" Here it may be noticed that, in general, those colonists who de- 
voted themselves to mining, remained poor; while the farmers grew 



THE CONQUEST. XI 

rich. When melting time came, which was at stated intervals of 
eight months, it often happened that after the king's dues were paid, 
and those who had claims upon the produce for advances already- 
made to the miners, were satisfied, nothing remained for the miner 
himself. And so all this blood and toil were not paid for ^ even in money; 
and many still continued to eat their meals from the same wooden 
platters they had been accustomed to in the old country; only with 
discontented minds and souls beginning to be imbruted with cruelty." 
(Helps.) 

At this juncture, Columbus, authorized to make further explora- 
tions in the New World, suddenly appeared at San Domingo. The 
orders of the Crown forbade him to disembark at the island, for fear 
that the course of administration for which he had been rebuked 
would be persisted in; but a violent hurricane was apprehended, and 
the safety of his fleet afforded him sufficient excuse to seek a har- 
bour. In this storm, which took place as the admiral had forseen, 
the greater part of a large fleet of vessels which had recently set sail 
for Spain were lost, with all on board — another sacrifice to the thirst 
for gold. 

Shortly after this, a force of 400 men was sent to reduce the Indios 
of the province of Higuey. These unfortunates were hunted with 
firearms and bloodhounds. Of the captives taken, those not wanted 
as slaves had both their hands cut off, many were thrown to the dogs, 
and several thousand put to the sword. 

Ovando, finding that, under the merciful instructions of Los Reyes 
about dealing with the Indios, he could get no gold — for they shunned 
the Spaniards " as the sparrow the hawk " and fled to the woods, 
there to avoid them and die — transmitted to the Court a report to 
this effect. In a reply dated December, 1503, Ovando was directed 
'•to compel" the Indios to have dealings with the Spaniards; and 
thus the slave system begun by Columbus, was re-established by the 
Court. 

It may not be uninteresting in this place to hear what the Indios 
themselves thought about the conquest of America and the motives 
which impelled the Spaniards in its prosecution. Something of this 
is embodied in the story of Hatuey, cacique of a province of Cuba. 

Apprehensive that the Spaniards would come, as they afterwards 
did come, to his territory, Hatuey called his people together and 
recounting the cruelties of the white men, said they did all these 
things for a great God whom they loved much. This God he would 
show them. Accordingly he produced a small casket filled with gold. 



12 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

*' Here is the God whom they serveand after whom they go; and,asyou 
have heard, already they are longing to pass over to this place, notpre- 
tetidi/ig more tha?i to seek this God; wherefore let us make to him here a 
festival and dances, so that when they come, He may tell them to do 
us no harm." (Herrera.) 

The Indios approved this council, and to propitiate the God whom 
they thought their enemies worshipped, they danced around it until 
they were exhausted; when the cacique turned to them and said that 
they should not keep the God of the Christians anywhere, for were 
it even in their entrails it would be torn out; but that they should 
throw it in the river that the Christians might not know where it was; 
"and there," says the account "they threw it." 

In 1503, Ovando set out with 70 horsemen and 300 foot-soldiers to 
visit the friendly Queen Anacaona of Xaragua, who hospitably re- 
ceived him with feasting and rejoicing. In return, Ovando, whose 
object was to terrify the unhappy natives into submission and slavery, 
invited the chiefs to a mock tournament, where, at a signal, from 
himself, the queen and her caciques were all treacherously captured, 
the former was put to death by hanging and the latter were burnt 
alive. 

Shortly afterwards, in an expedition against the Indios of the pro- 
vince of Higuey, the Spaniards cut off the hands of their captives, 
hanged thirteen of them "in honour and reverence of Christ our 
Lord and his twelve Apostles," and used the hanging bodies of their 
miserable victims as dumb figures to try their swords upon. At 
another time, the Indios were burnt alive in a sort of wooden cradle. 
" Todo esto yo lo vide con mis ojos corporales mortales. " All this I 
saw with my own corporeal mortal eyes. (Las Casas.) 

Queen Isabella of Spain died in November, 1504. Could she with 
her dying eyes have seen into the Far West, she would have "beheld 
the Indian labouring at the mine under the most cruel buffetings, his 
family neglected, perishing, or enslaved; she would have marked him 
on his return, after eight months of dire toil, enter a place which 
knew him not, or a household that could only sorrow over the gaunt 
creature who had returned to them, and mingle their sorrows with 
his; or, still more sad, she would have seen Indians who had been 
brought from far distant homes, linger at the mines, too hopeless or 
too careless to return." 

Isabella's will contained a bequest which unfortunately removed all 
restraint from the oppressions visited upon the Indios. She left to 
her widower, the Regent Ferdinand, one-half of the revenues of the 



THE CONQUEST. 13 

Indies as a life estate. In the methods which were resorted to for 
the collection of these revenues, this meant one-half of the gold 
which could be extorted by the sweat and blood of the Indios; and 
Ferdinand, needy and thus endowed, withheld no licence to the adven- 
turers in America, which they alleged was needful in order to swell the 
Fifths due to the Crown, and the importance of the Queen's legacy. 

Upon the death of Isabella, Ferdinand, not being the immediate 
heir to the crown of Spain, retired to his kingdom of Naples, and 
was succeeded in the government of Spain by King Philip. This 
monarch died in 1506, and Ferdinand then became King of Spain, 
A few months before this, Columbus had died, and, as we shall see of 
all the Conquistadores, in poverty and debt. 

At this period the Indios had become "a sort of money" which 
was granted in repartimiento to favourites at the Spanish court. 
"The mania for gold-findmg was now probably at its height, and 
the sacrifice of Indian life proportionately great. " So few of the 
Indios remained alive that negro slaves began to be imported from 
Africa to fill their places at the mines. 

The king was told that the Bahama Islands were full of Indios who 
might be transported to Hispaniola in order that " they might assist 
in getting gold, and the king be much served." Ferdinand, who 
was fully as mindful of his interests as the adventurers upon the 
islands, gave the required licence, and the evil work commenced. 
In five years time, forty thousand of the Bahamians, captured under 
every circumstance of treachery and cruelty, were transported across 
the sea, all of them to die lingering deaths at the gold mines. 

This was among the last acts of the Ovando administration which 
closed with the appointment of Diego Columbus in 1509. Only seven- 
teen years had elapsed since the discovery of the island. According 
to Humboldt's " Fluctuations of Gold," the amount of gold thus far 
obtained was scarcely more than five million dollars. The cost of 
its production was several expensive expeditions with their outfits, 
some thousands of Spanish lives, and at least a million and a half of 
Indios! 

Such was the cruelty of the gold-hunters, and the terror they in- 
spired in the natives, that according to the Abbe Raynal, when Drake 
captured San Domingo in 1586, he learned from the few survivors of 
what had once been a populous country that, rather than become the 
fathers of children who might be subjected to the treatment which 
they had endured, they had unanimously refrained from conjugal in- 
tercourse. 



14 HISTORY OK MONEY IN AMERICA. 

It must not be supposed that these atrocities were peculiar to the 
Spaniards: rather was it peculiar to the class of adventurers to be 
found in all countries who, in the hope of rapidly and easily acquired 
fortunes, coupled with the fascination of a career of adventure, licence, 
and rapine, are the first to brave the dangers and seek the profits of 
a miner's life. Similar cruelties have been related of the ancients, 
who were not Spaniards. Similar ones can also be told of the Portu- 
gese, the English, the French, as well as the Americans. They are 
narrated here of the Spaniards simply because these instances are 
connected with the greatest supply of the precious metals known to 
history. 

" I swear that numbers of men have gone to the Indies who did 
not deserve water from God or man," wrote Columbus to the home 
government, and it was the same with those who went from other 
countries than Spain. 

The vilest scoundrels in Europe were let loose upon the unoffend- 
ing aborigines of America, and the darkest and most detestable crimes 
were committed in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. 

To these cruelties the necessities of the Crown opened the door. 
A letter of King Ferdinand to the colonists of Hispaniola is thus 
fairly paraphrased: "Get gold: humanely if you can; but at all 
hazards get gold; and here are facilities for you." 



IS 



CHAPTER III. 



EL DORADO. 



The legend of Dorado — Religious ceremony of the Muiska ladiaas of New Granada — 
Version of Martinez — Simon — Orellana — Sir Walter Raleigh — Vain searches for the 
Golden Country of the legend — The real gold country of South America found by the 
Portuguese in Brazil — Terra Firma mistaken for Dorado — The former an earthly para- 
dise — Gold money and trinkets of the natives — Desolation caused by the European 
gold hunters — The pearl fishery — Slave hunting — Las Casas — His despair and retire- 
ment — Cruelties of the Spaniards — The actual gold region of Terra Firma, or Vene- 
zuela — Its present condition. 

EL DORADO means '*The Golden," or "The Gilded." It was 
applied by the Spaniards to that country of limitless gold which 
their avid imagination had located in South America, some of them 
fixing it in the Valley of the Essequibo, others in that of the Orinoco, 
and others again among the Muiska Indians of Bogota, whose high- 
priest, it was said, clothed himself during a religious ceremony, with 
the dust of the metal so much coveted by the Spaniards. Martinez 
saw El Dorado in Manoa, a city of Guiana, whose buildings were 
roofed with gold; while in 1540, Orellana recognized it in the valley 
of the Amazon, whither Raleigh afterwards went to seek it, but found 
it not. In truth, it never existed at all. It was a myth created by 
cupidity and nourished by credulity, the search for which cost the 
lives of myriads of natives and not a few adventurers, both Spanish, 
English and others. 

One of the legends of El Dorado is given by a Spanish monk named 
Simon, who says that a Spanish captain named Sebastiano Belalcazar 
having invaded the district of Lake Guatavita near Bogota, ques- 
tioned the natives about gold, asking the spokesman if there was any 
such metal in his country. "He answered that there was abun- 
dance of it, together with many emeralds, which he called green- 
stones," and added that "there was a lake in the land of his over- 
lord which the latter entered several times a year, upon a raft, ad- 
vancing to its centre, he being naked, except that his entire body 
was covered from head to foot with an adhesive gum, upon which 
was sprinkled a great quantity of gold dust. This dust sticking to 



l6 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

the gum became a coating of gold, which upon a clear day shone re- 
splendently in the rising sun; such being the hour selected for the 
ceremony. He then made sacrifices and offerings, throwing into the 
water some pieces of gold and emeralds. Then he caused himself to 
be washed with saponaceous herbs, when all the gold upon his per- 
son fell into the lake and was lost to view. The ceremony being con- 
cluded, he came ashore and resumed his ordinary vestments. This 
news was so welcome to Belalcazar and his followers that they deter- 
mined to penetrate this golden country, which they called La Pro- 
vincia del Dorado — that is to say, the Golden province, where the 
cacique gilds his body before offering sacrifices. Such is the root 
and branch of the story that has gone out into the world under so 
many different forms by the name of El Dorado." 

Another version of the Dorado appears to have originated with 
Francisco Orellana, a companion of Pizarro in Peru. When in 1540 
Gonzalo Pizarro started to hunt for gold and slaves east of the Andes, 
Orellana was second in command of the expedition, which comprised 
350 Spaniards, 4,000 Indian porters, and 1,000 blood-hounds for hunt- 
ing down the natives. After crossing the mountains, the Spaniards 
discovered the Napo, one of the upper affluents of the Amazon. De- 
spairing, for lack of provisions, of being able to return by the route 
they had taken, the adventurers constructed a "brigantine" large 
enough to hold a portion of their numbers and the baggage. The 
command of this vessel was given by Pizarro to Orellana, with in- 
structions to keep in touch with those who intended to follow the 
course of the stream afoot. Their provisions becoming at length en- 
tirely exhausted, Orellana was instructed to drop down the stream 
with 50 soldiers, to a village reputed to be some leagues below and 
return with such provisions as he could secure. In three days Orel- 
lana reached the Amazon, which here flowed through a wilderness 
destitute of human food. To return was difficult; to abandon his 
commander and continue down the stream, was a course that prom- 
ised many advantages. This course he adopted. Starting from the 
confluence of the Napo and Amazon, in February, 1541, Orellana 
reached the ocean in the following August, thence he sailed to Cu- 
bagua and afterwards to Spain. Broken in fortune, health and rep- 
utation, Orellana had still a card left to play; this he found in his 
fertile imagination. He reported that he had voyaged through a coun- 
try only inhabited by women, and where gold was so plentiful that 
houses were roofed with it. In Manoa, the capital, the temples were 
built with the same costly material. Nothing was too extravagant to 



EL DORADO. I 7 

be believed by the greedy ears of cupidity. His tale spread so fast 
and received such wide belief that several expeditions were organized, 
some within the same year, to subdue the fair huntresses of South 
America and carry home to Spain the sheathing of their golden tem- 
ples and dwellings. One of these expeditions was headed by Philip 
de Hutten, a German knight, who started late in 1541 f rom Caro, on 
the Pearl Coast, with a small band of Spaniards. After a brief ab- 
sence he returned to the coast with the story that he had penetrated 
to the capital of the Omegas, that the roofs of the houses shone like 
gold, but that he had been driven away by the natives and therefore 
required a larger force and " more capital " to prosecute the adven- 
ture. There was no tribe of Omegas in South America. There was 
a tribe of Amaguas on the banks of the Amazon, but it does not ap- 
pear that Hutten had traversed so great a distance. Should it be 
admitted that this gold hunting "noble " was capable of drawing the 
long-bow, his story might be explained without discussing this objec- 
tion. However, he succeeded in obtaining what he wanted — more 
men and more capital; but while preparing his second expedition, he 
perished by the hand of one of his associates. (Malouet's ' ' Guyane. ") 

In 1545 Orellana, having procured sufficient capital for the pur- 
pose, set sail from Spain with a large and well equipped force, to 
conquer the haughty Amazons and pillage their imaginary Dorado. 
He was fortunate in dying peaceably on the voyage; for his com- 
panions would assuredly have murdered him when they came face to 
face with the dismal truth. It is needless to say that the expedition 
miserably failed; but though Orellana died and his expedition per- 
ished, his lie lived a long life; and it is possibly not quite dead yet. 

The most famous of the numerous expeditions to discover and 
pillage this figment of Orellana's brain was organized by Sir Walter 
Raleigh. After massacreing the Spaniards who aided Desmond in 
Ireland, seizing for himself twenty thousand acres of Desmond's 
lands and debauching one of Queen Elizabeth's maids of honor, and 
thus rendering himself quite eligible for an enterprise of this charac- 
ter, he prepared for a voyage to the land of gold. In 1595 he set 
sail with five ships. After spending several months in roaming the 
country between the Amazon and Orinoco, he returned to England 
with Orellana's tale embellished. In his "Discovery of the Large, 
Rich and Beautiful Empire of Guiana," he describes the gilded King 
of this favored country (el rey Dorado) whose chamberlains, every 
morning, after rubbing his naked body with aromatic oils, blew pow- 
dered gold over it, through long sarbacans! It has been shown in 



l8 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

a previous work that Raleigh never had the least intention to pros- 
pect or mine for gold; and that he was not even equipped with the 
picks and shovels which would form the most elementary tools needed 
for such purposes; in short, that the expedition was designed to 
plunder and enslave the natives and not to prosecute any legitimate 
industry. But indeed Raleigh was not the only adventurer of this 
type. In the Spanish records and in Rodway's volume we find whole 
catalogues of ruffians who had no word but "gold " upon their lips, 
no thought but of greed and murder in their heads. Juan Corteso, 
Caspar de Sylva, Jeronimo Ortal, Father lala, Alonzo de Herrera, 
above all, that prince of monsters Lope de Aquirre, colour the pages 
with the darkest hues of bloody emprise. As for Aquirre, there is 
no more terrible story in all the history of the Spanish Main. A com- 
panion of the dashing Pedro de Ursua, he set out in the year 1560 
to search the Amazon for treasure cities, and within a month he had 
murdered his captain and all those who stood by him. Two days 
later he cut the throat of the beautiful Donna Inez de Altienza, who 
had followed Pedro from Spain to share the dangers and hardships 
of his undertaking. 

Aquirre was about fifty years of age, short of stature and sparsely built, ill-featured, 
his face small and lean, his beard black, and his eyes as piercing as those of a hawk. 
When he looked at any one he fixed his gaze sternly, particularly when annoyed; he 
was a noisy talker and boaster, and when well supported, very bold and determined, 
but otherwise a coward. . . . He was never without one or two coats of mail or a 
steel breastplate, and always carried a sword, dagger, arquebuse, or lance. His sleep 
was mostly taken in the day, as he was afraid to rest at night, although he never took 
off his armour altogether, nor put away his weapons. 

It is a curious fact that those who searched for El Dorado never 

found it; whilst those who never searched for it, found not indeed 

El Dorado, but the only great gold bearing districts of America 

south of California. These were neither in New Granada, Terra 

Firma, the West India islands, nor New Spain, nor indeed in any 

part of America invaded by the Spaniards; but in Brazil. After the 

Spaniards had plundered the Indians of their trinkets, after they had 

worn them out in the petty gold placers of Hispaniola, Mexico, the 

Isthmus, New Granada and Peru, after they had dug into the ancient 

graves of the Indians and robbed the dead of the ornaments which 

had been devoted by the hands of piety, they came to a halt. ^ There 

' The Peruvian and Central American graves were classified by those who dishon- 
oured them into " Huacas de Pilares " and " Huacas Tapadas," or graves without 
tombstones, the former being richer than the latter and commanding a higher price in 
the Spanish markets! 



EL DORADO. I9 

was evidently no more gold to be got; and but for the adventitious 
discovery of the silver of Potosi, they would probably have abandoned 
the countries they had ruined and permitted the remains of the 
native races to recover from their devastating presence. But Potosi, 
together with the subsequent discoveries of rich silver mines in 
Mexico, sealed the fate of the Indians. 

Meanwhile, something resembling a Dorado had been discovered 
by the Portuguese in Brazil. This was in 1573, when the placers of 
Minhas Geraes were discovered by Sebastiao Fernandes Tourinho. 
A quarter of a century later, 1595-1605, occurred the great dis- 
coveries at Ouro Preto. From first to last these mines produced no 
less a sum in gold than ;^i8o,ooo,ooo. Dr. Southey's estimate is 
upwards of ;^25o,ooo,ooo; but this appears to be excessive. It was 
estimated in 18S0 that, weight for weight, Brazil had produced only 
a fourth less gold than either California or Australia. "When it is 
considered how much less gold there was in the world's stock of the 
precious metals at the period when Brazil threw her auriferous pro- 
duct into Europe, than there was when California and Australia 
began to be productive, the importance of the Brazilian mines is 
seen to have been even greater than that of the great placers of the 
present century."* 

Among the smaller placers of the world whose importance was 
great enough to exercise some influence upon the history of money 
in America, were those of the Apallachian Range of North America 
which yielded from first to last — 1824 to 1849 — about ten million 
dollars in gold. It was these mines and the Russian placers of the 
same period which called forth that remarkable but little known 
treatise of the illustrious Von Humboldt, "The Fluctuations of 
Gold," than which no more fascinating monograph on the subject 
has ever been written.^ Here it was, in North Carolina, that the 
writer enjoyed his early experience as a mining engineer. A num- 
ber of Spanish relics, such as spear-heads, horse-shoes, etc., of 
ancient types, picked up near the gold placers of Salisbury, testify 
to the presence of the early gold hunters much farther North than 
they are commonly supposed to have ventured. 

But let us return to the terrible and pathetic history of El Dorado; 
terrible in respect of the desolation and ruin which, in the pursuit of 
gold, the Spaniards wrought upon this beautiful land and its innocent 

* Del Mar's History of the Precious Metals, ed. 1880, p. 124. 

* Originally published in Berlin, 1838; republished in New York by the Cambridge 
Encyclopedia Company, 1899. 



20 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

inhabitants; pathetic with respect to the hopeless efforts which one 
good man among them made to avert this ruin and lead the natives 
by pious methods into the fold of Christianity. Those who would 
peruse this story in detail should consult Sir Arthur Helps' admirable 
work. The scope of the present history compels us never to lose 
sight of the precious metals and their immediate surroundings. 

Yet there is one more reflection which this history enforces upon 
us and for which we must beg the reader's indulgence. From the 
moment when America was discovered by the Spaniards down to the 
present day, it does not seem to have possessed any further interest 
for them or for the rest of Europe beyond that of seeing it exploited 
for the precious metals. The first rude conquerors who visited it from 
the older world, ravaged it for golden spoil; the race of men who fol- 
lowed afterwards, dug into its mines and gutted them of their precious 
contents, only to transport these to Europe; the alien financiers who 
to-day are permitted to influence so largely the polity of America, 
exercise their power largely for the sake of the gold it produces. The 
means employed by the Spaniards was pillage; by the Creoles, slavery; 
and by the aliens, who are permitted to mould its laws at the present 
day, a chicanery misnamed "finance." The object has been the same 
with all of them, gold; the destination of the gold has always been 
the same, the mints of Europe ; there to enrich classes who are already 
rich and keep the remote regions which produced this wealth, in com- 
parative indigence. It is not, as has been falsely claimed, the Catholic 
religion, which keeps South America poor, nor a republican form of 
government which subjects the vast resources and energies of North 
America to the designs of the arch-intriguants who govern the banks 
and exchanges of Europe. It is that European System of Money, 
which, whether the coins were made of one metal or two metals, 
has never failed, so long as those metals were gratuitously coined 
and free to be melted down on both sides of the Atlantic, to withdraw 
the bulk of them to Europe and place che American states at the 
mercy of the European mints and melting houses and the classes who 
control them. 

The native name for that portion of the South American continent 
which stretches from the Orinoco to Cumana was Paria; whilst from 
Cumana to the Gulf of Venezuela it was called Cumana. Together, 
these districts were called by the Spaniards, the Pearl Coast, whilst 
the interior portion was at a later period called El Dorado. That 
larger tract of coast which stretches from the Amazon to the Magda- 
lena, was called Terra Firma, and within it are comprised the present 



KL DORADO. 2 1 

States of the three Guianas and Venezuela. It is described by the 
early voyagers as an earthly heaven; indeed Columbus told his men, 
when his ship was in the Gulf of Paria, that he thought it must be " a 
Continent which he had discovered, the same Continent of the East 
of which he had always been in search; and that the waters, (which 
we now know to be a branch of the river Orinoco,) formed one of the 
four great rivers which descended from the garden of Paradise. " He 
added that "they were in the richest country of the world," a re- 
mark, which, it seems, however, was not applied to the fertility of 
its fields, but to his expectations of gold. (Oviedo, Hist. Gen. Ind., 
XIX, i.) 

The Chimay Indians who inhabited the coasts, were not savages, 
but agriculturalists, fishermen and hunters. They lived in permanent 
dwellings, sat upon chairs, dined at tables and, alas, for their own 
happiness,* they wore ornaments of gold and necklaces of pearls. It 
was these trinkets that attracted the cupidity of the Spaniards and 
doomed the native races to destruction. 

Columbus described these people as "tall, well built, and of very 
graceful bearing, with long smooth hair, which they covered with a 
beautiful head dress of worked and coloured handkerchiefs, that ap- 
peared at a distance to be made of silk." Everywhere he met with 
the kindest reception and hospitality. " He found the men, the coun- 
try and the products, equally admirable. It is somewhat curious that 
he does not mention his discovery of pearls to the Catholic Monarchs 
and he afterwards makes a poor excuse for this. The reason I con- 
jecture to have been a wish to preserve this knowledge to himself, 
that the fruits of his enterprise might not be prematurely snatched 
from him. His shipmates, however, were sure to disperse the intel- 
ligence; and the gains to be made on the Pearl Coast were probably 
the most tempting bait for future navigators to follow in the tract of 
Columbus and complete the discovery of the earthly Paradise." 

The natives cultivated maize, cassaba and cotton, weaving the latter 
into clothing, hammocks, and other articles of utility. They even 
manufactured a sort of wine, or beer, from the maize. " The trees 
descended to the sea. There were houses and people and very beau- 
tiful lands which reminded him (Columbus) from their beauty and 
their verdure, of the gardens, or huertas, of Valencia in the month 
of May." Not only this, but the lands were well cultivated, muy 
labrada. "Farms and populous places were visible above the water 

* F. G. Squier, in Century Magazine, 1S90, p. 890. 



22 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

as he coasted onwards; and still the trees descended to the sea — a 
sure sign of the general mildness of the climate, wherever it occurs." 
. . , " The expedition proceeded onwards, anchoring in the various 
ports and bays which there are on that coast, until it came to a very 
beautiful spot, near a river, where there were not only houses, but places 
of fortification. There were also gardens of such beauty that one of 
the voyagers, afterwards giving evidence in a lawsuit connected with 
the proceedings on that coast, declared that he had never seen a more 
delicious spot." (Helps, II, 113.) 

Upon this happy shore, at Paria, Columbus landed in 1498, setting 
upon it that great cross which was the symbol of the sovereignty 
claimed by him for Ferdinand and Isabella, and should have also 
been that of hope and salvation for the natives. But from the mo- 
ment of its erection everything changed for the worse. The first 
enquiries of the admiral were for gold; the next for pearls. The pro- 
ceeds of his voyage in these coveted objects did not in the end 
amount to much, but they served to stimulate other adventurers. In 
December of the same year the news of his discovery reached Spain; 
in the following May, Alonso de Ojeda, started with an expedition 
from Spain with the object to exploit this beautiful land. A few days 
later another expedition started with the same object, led by Per 
Alonso Nino and Christobal Guerra. This last one came to the island 
of Margarita (Pearls) where they procured some pearls in exchange 
for glass-beads, pins and needles. At Mochima they obtained in an 
hour 15 ounces of pearls for trumperies that cost in Spain but 200 
maravedis. At Curiana, on the Main, they met with "the most gra- 
cious reception, as if it were a meeting of parents and children." 
The houses were built of wood and thatched with palm leaves. Every 
kind of food was abundant — fish, flesh, fowls, and bread made of In- 
dian corn. Markets and fairs were held, in which were displayed all 
the bravery of jars, pitchers, dishes, and porringers of native manu- 
facture. But the Spaniards cared nothing for these, only for those 
fatal ornaments of "gold made in the form of little birds, frogs and 
other figures, very well wrought." When the strangers, with affected 
carelessness, asked where "that yellow dirt" came from, they were 
told Cauchieto, some forty leagues off. Securing what gold they 
could obtain at Curiana, the adventurers voyaged to Cauchieto, where 
they found that pearls were dear and gold was cheap. At Chichiri- 
bichi, a place near the present port of La Guayra, Alonso de Ojeda 
had anticipated them, by attacking and plundering the natives, who 
did not receive Nino's expedition with the usual amiability. Return- 



EL DORADO. 23 

ing to Curiana they found such a supply of pearls ready for them, 
some as big as filberts, that they purchased as much as 150 marks 
weight, at a cost of not more than ten or 12 ducats worth of trinkets. 
In February, 1500, this expedition returned to Bayona in Galicia, 
"the mariners being laden with pearls as if they were carrying bun- 
dles of straw. " In a few months time the news spread all over Spain 
and flowed back to Hispaniola. An expedition at once started from 
that island, which occupied the sterile islet of Cubagua, between Mar- 
garita and the Main. There was conducted that pearl fishery which 
afterwards gave its name to the Coast of Terra Firma. 

Thus far there had been comparatively little friction between the 
Spaniards and Indians, but Hispaniola, now nearly depopulated of the 
natives by the rigours of the gold mines, was too much in need of new 
victims and too near to Terra Firma, to induce the Spaniards to forego 
the advantage of kidnapping the inhabitants of the Main. In 15 12 
they carried off a cacique, with 17 of his men, to the mines of His- 
paniola. This cruel and treacherous act was avenged by the Indians, 
who, after affording the Spaniards an ample opportunity to return the 
captives, put to death the unhappy Dominican monks who had erected 
a pioneer mission on the Main. In i5i8the Franciscans and Domini- 
cans of Hispaniola, nothing daunted by the fate of their brethren, 
erected two new monasteries on the Pearl Coast, the Indians receiv- 
ing them kindly. Scarcely had these amicable arrangements been 
made when a Spaniard named Alonso de Ojeda — not the one pre- 
viously mentioned — started from Cabagua to kidnap natives on the 
Main. Four leagues beyond the monasteries, at a place on the coast 
named Maracapana, Ojeda treacherously attacked a band of 50 In- 
dians, whom he had employed to carry maize; and after slaughtering 
a number of them, carried the remainder away in slavery. This act 
roused the natives of the coast to fury. They attacked the monas- 
teries, dispersed its inmates, tore the emblems of their religion into 
shreds and killed 80 of their companions. Not content with this, they 
started for Cubagua, where there were 300 Spaniards getting rich 
with the pearl fishery, put the latter to flight and plundered their 
mushroom city of New Cadiz. When this news reached St. Domingo 
a punitive expedition, under Ocampo, was organized to chastise the 
Indians. Having discharged this mission with cruel fidelity, Ocaropo 
made use of the occasion to secure a large number of slaves, "carry- 
ing his incursions into that mountainous country, the abode of the 
Tegares," a place south of the present city of Caraccas. 

It was in the midst of these scenes that the benevolent Las Casas 



24 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

made that memorable but vain attempt to establish peace and the 
Christian religion upon Terra Firma. The Indians were docile and 
willing enough, but the Spaniards wanted gold and slaves, objects 
which were irreconcilable with either peace or religion. Even the 
subordinates of the clerigo could not forego these temptations, and 
taking advantage of his absence in St. Domingo, his lieutenant, on'j 
Francisco de Soto, "sent away the only two boats the colony had, 
to traffic for pearls, gold, and even for slaves." The result was an- 
other rising of the Indians, the destruction of the mission and the 
dispersion of the Dominicans. When intelligence of these occurrences 
reached Las Casas, he lost heart and retiring to a convent, renounced 
the Christian world forever. 

Freed from the restraint which this worthy man and reformer had 
imposed upon their cupidity, the Spaniards now commenced in earnest 
that dread work of devastation which eventually rendered this once 
§miling land a desert. In 1522 Jacome Castellon " fought the In- 
dians, recovered the country, restored the pearl fisheries and filled 
Cubagua and even St. Domingo with slaves." (Gomara, Hist. Ind., 

c. 78.) 

By the year 1541 the pearl fishery had ceased entirely, or else had 
ceased to be productive, and we now again hear of El Dorado, which 
was the name mentioned by the governor of Cubagua as that of an 
interior province of Terra Firma, where gold and slaves were to be 
had in plenty. In the same year an expedition with these objects in 
view was started from Cubagua under the leadership of Ortal, which 
moved eastward along the coast and there "commenced a hunt, that 
led the Spaniards through the wildest tract of country which Belzoni, 
(who was present an-d writes the story,) thinks that foxes would have 
hesitated to enter. The cruel hunters, like wild beasts, made their 
forays more by night than by day, and in the course of a march of a 
hundred miles they succeeded in capturing 240 Indians, males and 
females, children and adults." Returning to the coast, the Spaniards 
adopted another mode of planting religion and civilization in El Do- 
rado. "When the Indians came down to fish, the Spaniards rushed 
out of their hiding places and generally contrived to capture the fish- 
ers, who appear to have been mostly women and children." (Bel- 
zoni, Hist. Novi Orbis, I, ii.) 

One of these expeditions after travelling 700 miles returned to 
Maracapdna, bringing no fewer than 4,000 slaves. These represented 
but a portion of the natives who were torn from their homes; for 
many of them, who were found to be unequal to the journey, were 



EL DORADO. 25 

put to death on the road. " That miserable band of slaves," wrote 
Belzoni, "was indeed a foul and melancholy spectacle to those who 
beheld it; men and women debilitated by hunger and misery, their 
bodies naked, lacerated and mutilated. You might behold the wretched 
mothers lost in grief and tears, dragging two or three children after 
them, or carrying them upon their necks and shoulders, and the whole 
band connected together by ropes or iron chains around their necks 
or arms and hands." These unhappy victims were carried to Cubagua, 
where a fifth of their number was taken for the king of Spain and 
branded with the initial of his name. King Charles the First of Spain 
and the Fifth of Germany, both of glorious memory. "The great 
bulk of the captives were then exchanged for wine, corn and other 
necessaries; nor did these accursed marauders hesitate to make a 
saleable commodity of that for which a man should be ready to lay 
down his own life in defence — namely, the child that is about to be 
born to him." (Helps, quoting the words of Belzoni.) 

Such were the crimes committed in El Dorado to obtain the gold 
of Hispaniola and St. Domingo. When Columbus first visited the 
Coast of Terra Firma, namely, in 1498, it was a scene of fertility and 
happiness. "When I came there," says Belzoni, in 1541, " it was 
nearly reduced to a solitary desert." Yet less than 300 miles from 
the scene of this wickedness lay one of the richest gold mines that 
the world ever saw, the "Callao." But the Spaniards did not visit 
El Dorado to prospect or dig for gold; they came to plunder gold 
and to extort it from slavery. 

The only region of Terra Firma which, down to the present time, 
has proved to contain gold in any considerable quantity and acces- 
sible to the natives, before the introduction of European arts, that 
is to say, placer gold, is in Venezuela (or Guiana) in the valley of the 
Cuyuni, an affluent of the Essequibo. This is the territory in dis- 
pute between Venezuela and Great Britain, the origin of the so much 
vaunted arbitration treaty of 1897. The air is humid, the climate is 
fatal to whites, and for their labour the Indians demand sixty cents 
to one dollar, or 2s. 6d. to 4s. per day in gold, beside certain allow- 
ances of food and raiment. The total product at the present time 
is about one million dollars a year, at a cost of about one and a quar- 
ter millions. 

Whilst exploring the countries of the Upper Orinoco in the early 
part of the present century. Baron von Humboldt was informed that 
the placers of that region were " the classical soil of the Dorado of 
Parima. " This is quite possible. 



26 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

The ' ' Callao " mine is in the Caratal district, department of Roscio, 
State of Guiana, Republic of Venezuela. The district is about 160 
miles E. S. E. of Ciudad Bolivar, or Angostura, on the Orinoco, and 
it contains, besides the "Callao," numerous other quartz mines, most 
of which, although productive, have failed to be profitable. The 
mines, whose surface had long been worked as placers, were opened 
for quartz about the year 1866. Commencing in that year with a 
product of 15,000 ounces, this gradually increased in 1880 to 130,000 
ounces, about one-half of the whole product (900,000 ounces) hav- 
ing been obtained from the " Callao" alone. According to the Re- 
port of the British Consul at Ciudad Bolivar, for 1880, gold is the 
chief and, it may be said, almost the only industry of the State of 
Guiana, on which both public and private incomes more or less de- 
pend. "Absorbing, as it does, almost all the labour of the state, 
by offering superior inducements to labourers, it renders every other 
enterprise hopeless. Gold-mining is the sole pre-occupation of all 
minds. In this vice-consular district, as an industry, it only dates, 
it may be said, from 1866, when companies were formed for working 
this hitherto undeveloped source of wealth. But whether from the 
enormous expenses which have been incurred in importing and setting 
up suitable machinery, the transporting of it to Caratal, a distance 
of about 150 miles from Port Las Tablas, by bullock-wagons, or the 
exceptional dearness of labour, provisions, and fuel, which latter has 
to be procured from the adjacent forests at great outlay, for the work- 
ing of steam machinery, the fact is that until now, only one, the 
Callao Company, has returned dividends to its shareholders." Since 
the year above mentioned, the produce of the district has greatly 
declined. 



27 



CHAPTER TV. 

MONEYS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN TRIBES. 

Mone)'s of the Mound Builders — Engraved or stamped moneys of lignite, bone, terra 
cotta, gold, silver, lead, copper and other substances — Skin or parchment money — 
Copper mines of the Mound Builders near Lake Superior — Inscribed copper bars of 
the Brazilian Guaranis — The venatic tribes of America did not employ money — Mys- 
terious fate of the Mound Builders. 



M 



ENTION is elsewhere made of the moneys employed by the 
Aztecs and other civilized races of Mexico, Central and South 
America. Races belonging to a scarcely lower civilization than the 
Aztecs, certainly far more advanced than the venatic tribes of the 
North and East, must have occupied at some remote time and for a 
lengthy period, a considerable portion of the Mississippi Basin; for 
we find their remains scattered all over that vast bed of alluvium, 
from Ohio to Louisiana and from Ohio and Tennessee to Arkansas. 
These remains consist of earth-forts, mounds, tumuli, barrows, irri- 
gation-canals, ditches and mines and their various contents. They 
are of a character and extent which indicate their constructors to 
have been an agricultural and commercial people, acquainted amongst 
other arts with letters and the use of money. The moneys employed 
by these people at various times may conveniently be arranged under 
the following principal classes: 

I. Lignite and coal money; round; diameter from about ^ to i^ 
inches; and in thickness about % of an inch. These were generally 
plain; but many of them were engraved on one side, sometimes with 
parallel lines; at others with dots; varying in number from four to 
i6 in the specimens copied by Dr. Dickeson. Others were en- 
graved with scroll-work, figures of men, birds, frogs, etc. 

II. Ivory and bone money. Six hundred and fifty pieces, some- 
what resembling button-moulds, from ^ to ^ of an inch in diame- 
ter and from the thickness of pasteboard to ^ of an inch, were found 
in Grave Creek Mound, near Wheeling, Va. , whilst in another mound 
upwards of i , 700 ivory pieces were found. All of these were regarded 
by Dr. Dickeson as pieces of money. 



28 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

III. Terra cotta money ; round ; diameter about i ^ to i ^ inches, 
and in thickness from ^ to X of ^^ inch. They were commonly stamped 
on one side with parallel lines, dots, triangles, rings, letters, scrolls 
and other devices. 

IV. Stone money; usually of sandstone or slate, diameter from }4 
an inch to 8 inches. Devices similar to those on classes I and III, 
The remarkable stone, with an inscription in the "Rock alphabet," 
alluded to below, has been included in this class. 

V. Gold coins about ^ of an inch in diameter ; round ; rough-edged ; 
weight about 48 grains. On one of these coins, found in the hand 
of a skeleton buried in Ross County, Ohio, the device was four wav- 
ing parallel lines. A similar specimen was found in a mound at old 
Fort Rosalie, near Natchez, Miss. A third one was found in Perry 
County, Ohio, with the device of a man and bird on each side. 

VI. Similar coins of silver. 

VII. Galena coins. These were lumps of irregular roundish shapes, 
covered with hieroglyphics. 

VIII. Copper coins, similar in size and type to those of gold and 
silver. 

IX. Pieces which may have been used as money composed of va- 
rious substances, such as lead, mica, shells, pearls, carnelian, chal- 
cedony, agate, jasper, fossil encrinites, or stone lilies, §:c. 

X. Scylates, or concavo-convex copper discs. ' 

XL Beaver and marten skins, in the Lake regions of North Amer- 
ica. The later venatic tribes are known to have used these as com- 
modities for the purposes of barter; and it seems quite likely that the 
earlier agricultural nations also used skins for money, that is to say, 
inscribed skins, whose efificacy depended not upon the value of the 
skins, as such, but upon the credit of the community or state and the 
limit assigned to their emission; as in China, Novgorod andWessex, 
during the ninth century of our aera. 

The order in which these various moneys are mentioned herein has 
no ascertained relation to the order of time in which they were actu- 
ally employed. Of this we know nothing. It may be conjectured 
that terra cotta and ivory or bone moneys preceded gold, silver and 
copper coins, and that the irregular supply and increasing scarcity 
of the latter, compared with the growing demand for them, created 
such obstacles to trade that the community degenerated to barter, 
lost its social bond and consequently its military ascendancy, and 
eventually fell a prey to the surrounding tribes of hostiles; just as 

' Smithsonian Report, 1876. 



MONEYS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN TRIBES. 29 

Rome, under a metallic system, fell beneath the power of nations 
whom she had easily repelled when her nummulary system was in 
vogue. But such a conjecture must go for what it is worth. All we 
know is that the remains include all these species of money. We have 
as yet no clue to the history of them. Some of the specimens were 
formerly in Peale's Museum; others were in the possession of Dr. 
Dickeson, who published drawings or fac-similes of them; while still 
others remain in the private collections of archaeologists. They should 
all be brought together by the government and deposited in the Mint 
Collection at Washington. 

In the early portion of 1897, native copper workings of great an- 
tiquity were discovered about 20 miles from the head of Gitche Gumee, 
the Big Sea-water of Indian legend and the Lake Superior of to-day. 
The following is from a professional report on these workings; 

"That this region was resorted to by an ancient race for the pur- 
pose of producing copper, long before the coming of the white man, 
is evident from the numerous memorials scattered throughout its ex- 
tent. Whether these ancient miners belonged to the race who built 
the mounds on the Upper Mississippi and its affluents, or were the 
progenitors of the (venatic) Indians, is a matter of conjecture. 

"The evidences of early mining consist of numerous excavations 
in the solid rock ; heaps of rubbish and earth along the courses of the 
veins; remains of co{)per utensils fashioned into knives and chisels; 
stone hammers, some of which are of immense size and weight; 
wooden bowls for bailing water from the mines; and numerous levers 
of wood, used in raising the masses of copper to the surface. 

"The high antiquity of this rude mining is inferred from the fact 
that the existing race of Indians have no traditions by what people 
or at what time it was done. The mines were even unknown to the 
eldest of the band, until they were pointed out by the white man. It 
is inferred from the character of the trees growing upon the piles of 
rubbish, between which and those of the surrounding forests no per- 
ceptible difference can be detected ; from the mouldering state of the 
wooden billets and levers; from the nature of the materials with which 
these excavations are filled, consisting of fine clay enveloped in half- 
decayed leaves; and from the bones of the bear, the deer and the 
caribou; that the filling-up resulted not from the action of temporary 
streamlets, but from the slow accumulation of years. 

"These evidences are observed in this location for a distance of 
two miles. Upon a mound of earth we saw a pine stump, broken fif- 
teen feet from the ground, which was ten feet in circumference, and 
which must have grown, flourished and died, since the earth in which 
it had taken root was thrown out. We counted 395 annual rings on 
a hemlock growing under similar circumstances, which we felled near 
one of these shafts. Thus it would appear that these mines were 
worked before Columbus started on his Voyage of Discovery. The 



30 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

amount of ancient hammers in the vicinity exceeded ten car loads. 
"Father Allouez, after whom Allouez Bay on Lake Superior is 
named, a Jesuit missionary, said: 'There are often found beneath 
the waters of Lake Superior pieces of copper, well formed and of the 
the weight of 20 pounds. I have seen them in the hands of tht In- 
dians; and, as the latter are superstitious, they keep them as so many 
divinities, or as presents from the gods beneath.' The fact that ingots 
of copper have been found on the bottom of Lake Superior indicate 
that this ancient race not only possessed the skill to mine copper but 
were also a commercial people who navigated the lake." " 

In this connection it might be added that inscribed copper bars 
about eight inches long and one inch in diameter have been found in 
Brazil and are there believed to have been used by the Guranis, an 
agricultural and trading people. A fac-simile of one of these was given 
to the author by the Director of the Mint at Rio Janeiro in 1882. 
The characters resemble Phoenician. It should also be stated that 
both in North America and Mexico, copper, before the Spanish Con- 
quest, was more valuable than gold. ^ Such may also have been the 
case in Brazil, 

Among the native communities who were found in America at the 
period of the Discovery, only the Mexicans, Peruvians, Chimaysand 
Chibchas are known to have used money. In neither case was the 
current money of gold or silver, although the precious metals existed 
in their countries in the greatest abundance, and one of them, gold, 
was produced by the natives and lavishly used for purposes of orna- 
ment and even for articles of utility. It is quite possible, and indeed 
probable, that the Natchez Indians used some sort of money; but 
we have no positive knowledge of it. The remaining tribes of America 
did not employ money until after they came into contact with Euro- 
peans. The tribal Indians were not agriculturalists nor traders; 
there was no division of employment among them; there was no com- 
munity, no government, no social bond; each man or each family 
lived and acted independently; the nearest approach to the social 
state was the family tie, clanship; its sign being the totem. Even 
this tie was but a frail one and was often ruptured. Yet some writers 
have gone so far as to assert that the venatic tribes of America did 
employ money before the arrival of the whites, and that such money 
was the well known wampum-peag. This is a subject that will be 
discussed more at length in a future chapter. As to the rings noticed 
in the Smithsonian Report for 1863, p. 322, these were probably brace- 

^ Chicago Times-Herald, about July i, 1897. 

^ Sir Arthur Helps, "Conquerors of America;" Smithsonian Report, 1876, 



MONEYS OF THE NORTH AMERICAN TRIBES. 3I 

lets and not money. There is no communal stamp upon them, no 
mark of public authority, nor no such peculiarity of shape or design 
as, in the absence of a stamp, would confer upon them the character 
of money. 

The authorities for regarding the various objects above enumerated 
as moneys of the aborigines, are Dr. M. W. Dickeson, in his Numis- 
matical Manual; Schoolcraft and Dickeson's descriptions of the North 
American mounds ; the Smithsonian Reports ; the Southern Magazine ; 
and Squier's Travels. Dr. Dickeson examined the contents of no 
less than 1,033 ancient mounds in the Mississippi Valley. The letters 
on the oval stone found in Grave Creek Mound, alluded to above in 
Class IV, resemble the Phoenician. " 

The remains of the Mound Builders fail to disclose what fate be- 
fell them, whether, as above surmised, they were weakened by social 
decay and were annihilated by the savage tribes who surrounded 
them, or they were driven south to the Deserts of New Mexico, or 
absorbed in the civilized populations that tenanted the Valley of the 
Anahuac. In the present state of discovery, we only know that the 
Mound Builders were once a mighty nation who practised agriculture, 
pursued trade, and employed money. 

* Dickeson, Num. Man., pi. Ii, fig. 15. 



32 



CHAPTER V. 

THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. 

Marv^ellous story of Cabeza de Vaca, 1527 — Expedition of Father Marcos, 1539 — 
It catches sight of Cibola and returns with great news to Mexico — Preparations of 
Cortes, Mendoza and Alvarado to subdue and plunder Cibola — Expedition of Coron- 
ado, 1540 — Tatarrax. the golden cross and the Queen of Heaven — Coronado reports 
the country a desert and the Seven Cities as worthless. 

STRANGE reports reached the City of Mexico, about fifteen years 
after its conquest by the Spaniards, respecting the unknown 
countries which lay to the north and northwest. Those as yet un- 
discovered regions were supposed to abut upon the kingdoms of India, 
and were said to contain not only rich and populous nations and 
splendid cities, but also mountains of gold, silver, and precious stones, 
oceans of pearls, islands of Amazons, mermaids, unicorns, and all the 
marvels which for centuries had played a part in the fables and ro- 
mances of Europe. The conquerors, even though in the presence 
of the glories of Tenochtitlan, believed they had entered merely the 
threshold oi the wealth and splendour of the New World, and that the 
true Dorado lay in the far North beyond. To their excited imag- 
inations everything assumed a golden hue, the vague accounts of the 
country given by the Indians grew more and more exaggerated with 
every repetition as they passed from mouth to mouth, and not only 
the soldiers, but even the great Cortes himself felt firmly convinced 
that in the unknown North there were nations whose wealth and 
splendour as far exceeded that of the Aztecs as those of the Aztecs 
exceeded Hispaniola and Cuba. 

But strange as were these reports, on account of their romantic 
character and the avidity with which they were caught up and cred- 
ited, they were much more so on account of the substratum of truth 
which underlaid them. This points in the direction of the territories 
since called California, Arizona and New Mexico, the territories which 
have since been found out to be the true Dorado, the territories 
which, as the world now knows, are the true land of mineral wealth. 
It points especially to cities large and populous, cities of splendid and 



THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. ^^^ 

extensive buildings, cities far advanced in civil polity; where we now 
find spread over vast tracts of country immense ruins, which, even 
in their loneliness and desolation, still bear eloquent testimony of 
former grandeur and magnificence. By degrees, as further and fur- 
ther discoveries are being made among these ruins, our attention is 
being more and more attracted to the ancient reports; and when we 
come to compare recent developments with what have hitherto been 
regarded as only the heated fancies of the old Spanish explorers, 
the facts demand at our hands a much ampler justification of Cortes 
and his companions in their reception of, and belief in, these marvel- 
lous stories, than has ever yet been vouchsafed to them. 

Among these stories the strangest were concerning the Seven Cities 
of Cibola, or the Septcm Civitates, as they were called by the Latin- 
speaking priesthood of the day. The exact situation of these famous 
cities was not pointed out; but in all the ancient maps, however gen- 
eral and defective in other respects, they were invariably designated, 
and given "a local habitation and a 'name." In some, they were 
represented as rearing their giant towers where the then unknown 
Bay of San Francisco ought to have been; in others, as lying at the 
head of the California Gulf, and in others as more nearly in the cen- 
tre of the great sandy wastes, like Palmyra in the desert. However 
erroneous, and at whatever times these maps may have been made, 
they all exhibited the Seven Cities, or the Septem Civitates, as if they 
were as well known as the cities around the Lake of Tescuco. 

Cortes, as is well known, sent several expeditions, one of which he 
accompanied in person, in search of the splendour and wealth which 
were thus believed to exist in the far northwest. The story of these 
expeditions is told in most of our histories; but it is omitted to be 
told in them how, though all his expeditions proved unsuccessful 
and unfortunate, his confidence in the wealth of the country remained 
unbroken and undiminished. Though he had seen for himself the 
bare and rugged mountains of the Californian peninsula, and their 
wretched and savage inhabitants, he yet believed that the Dorado 
which he sought, though it might be distant, still lay in that direc- 
tion. And in this belief many of the adventurers of the then New 
World participated. If we could suppose that they actually knew 
only a small portion of the truth, we might well imagine how they 
revelled in their anticipations of the magnificent countries and illim- 
itable treasures open to their conquest. If we could suppose that 
they had obtained only a few nuggets from the Californian placers, 
we might well appreciate how richly prepared were their minds for 



34 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

the marvellous stories, which, as narrated by the old Spanish chron- 
iclers, reached Mexico in the year 1536. 

The bringers of these stories were Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca 
and his companions, Alonzo de Castillo, Andres de Orantes, and a 
negro called Estevanico, the last of whom, by the way, is one of the 
first of his race named in American annals. These persons, accord- 
ing to the reports they gave of themselves, were of the unfortunate 
expedition, conducted by Panfilo de Narvaez, into Florida, in the year 
1527. Managing to escape the death which their leader and com- 
rades suffered, they found means, by persuading the Indians that they 
possessed miraculous powers for healing sicknesses, to subsist. Several 
fortunate recoveries under their hands gave colour to their preten- 
sions. They passed from tribe to tribe, and gradually, after wander- 
ing for nine long years, reached the Pacific and at last made their 
way to Mexico — being thus the first Europeans who crossed the con- 
tinent north of the tropics. In narrating their adventures they as- 
sured their wondering listeners that the interior of the country 
through which they had passed was full of various nations; that they 
themselves had seen much wealth in the shape of arrow-heads of the 
finest emerald, and big bags of silver; and that they had heard of 
many peoples, living further north, who possessed great cities and 
abundant riches. These reports, sustained as they were by the credit 
of Cabeza de Vaca, confirmed the Spaniards in their previously some- 
what vague belief in the wealth of the northwest, and not only in- 
duced Cortes to continue his exertions, but attracted the enterprise 
of others, who, it might be supposed, would have been the last to 
engage in visionary schemes or mere romantic adventures. 

One of these latter was Father Marcos deNiza, a Franciscan priest 
and provincial of his order. He was regarded as one of the most 
solid and substantial men in the New World, but he became so much 
animated by the reports of Cabeza de Vaca, that, without consider- 
ing personal risk and inconvenience, he determined at once and 
almost alone to explore those wonderful countries, and reap the early 
harvest of uncounted wealth, as well as of regenerated souls, which 
they promised. Accordingly, having secured the services of the 
negro Estevanico as a guide, and a number of Indian interpreters, 
he set out for Culiacan, the most northern of the Spanish settlements 
on the Pacific, in March, 1539. He travelled first a hundred leagues 
northwestward along the eastern coast of the Gulf of California, and 
reached, and in four days crossed, a desert. This brought him to a 
country where the natives had no knowledge whatever of the Chris- 



THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIUOLA. 35 

tians, and believed him a Man come from Heaven. They placed be- 
fore him provisions in great quantities, and touched his priestly robes 
with reverence. In answer to questions concerning the countries be- 
yond, they told him there was a valley among the mountains, four 
days' journey eastward, where the people possessed large vessels of 
gold, and wore ornaments of the same in their ears and nostrils. 
Father Marcos determined to visit this valley on his return, should 
it prove worth his while; but upon the present occasion, without 
turning aside, he continued his journey northward, and in four days 
further, came to the town of a nation called Vacapas. It was now 
the time of Easter, which his profession required him to pass in quiet 
and religious exercises; and he accordingly made arrangements to 
tarry among the Vacapas for a week. Having an eye to business, 
however, and apparently regarding his companions as mere Gentiles, 
excluded from the pale of salvation and not in need of the same re- 
ligious recreation as himself, he divided them into three parties, and 
sent them out north, west and east, with instructions to explore the 
country and bring him back intelligence of their discoveries. It was 
only a few days after they had gone when he was surprised with great 
news. Estevanico, who had gone northward, sent back intelligence 
of a great country, thirty days' journey further north, towards which 
he was advancing as fast as he could go, and requesting Father Marcos 
to follow as speedily as possible. This country, Estevanico informed 
him by messengers, was called Cibola, and it embraced, or consisted 
of, seven great and magnificent cities, whose houses, built of stone, 
several stories high, with portals adorned with turquoises, were dis- 
posed in streets, and whose inhabitants were under the government 
of one supreme king. Soon afterwards, the party, which had gone 
westward, returned with word that they had found the sea forty 
leagues distant at a place where there were thirty-four islands near 
the coast, and many people bearing shields of leather beautifully fig- 
ured; and about the same time the party that had gone eastward also 
returned, bringing three Indians of a tribe who painted their arms 
and breasts, and were therefore called Pintados. At first it w^as sup- 
posed that the bringing in of the Pintados was a matter of small 
account; but upon questioning them they said they had travelled and 
knew the country, and among other places they had seen were the 
great cities of Cibola, which they described, and in all respects con- 
firmed the reports of Estevanico regarding their grandeur and mag- 
nificence. 

Father Marcos now bade farewell to the hospitable Vacapas, and 



36 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

continued his journey northward. In three days he was met by an- 
other messenger from Estevanico, who brought still further and more 
glowing accounts of the greatness and wealth of Cibola. Further on 
he heard that, besides the Seven Cities, there were three great king- 
doms situated in the north, called Marata, Acus, and Totonteac> the 
people of which wore ornaments of precious stones in profusion. Still 
further on he found a great Cross, which Estevanico had erected in 
token that the prospects of great discoveries brightened as he ad- 
vanced. Cheered by these hopeful indications. Father Marcos hurried 
along and passed through a country which was artificially irrigated and 
very productive, where the people were clothed in cotton and wore tur- 
quoise necklaces. He then crossed a second desert, and came to a 
populous and well irrigated valley, inhabited by a people whom he 
says were white, where he found that the Seven Cities were as well 
known and as much spoken of as the City of Mexico in New Spain. 
Hearing at this place that the sea was not far distant, he turned aside, 
and discovered what he supposed to be the Ocean in the neighborhood 
of the 36th degree of north latitude — the parallel of Tule Lake and 
Santa Fe — a supposed discovery, in which the worthy Father was 
probably deceived by some mirage of the desert, mistaking it for a 
portion of the fabulous Straits of Anian. Again pursuing his north- 
erly course five days further, Father Marcos met a fugitive from 
Cibola, who gave him still further information concerning the Seven 
Cities, their form.and appearance, and also of the kingdoms of Marata, 
Acus, and Totonteac, their people, their cities built of stone and 
lime like those of Cibola, and their riches. It was about this same 
time that a skin was brought in said to belong to that famous animal, 
the unicorn, which the worthy Father informs us was one and a-half 
times larger than an ox, having hair the length of a finger, and of 
the color of a he-goat, and possessing a single horn curving down 
from the forehead upon the breast, and giving off a single prong, in 
which there was great strength and power. In the meanwhile further 
intelligence came from Estevanico that he was travelling with all 
possible despatch towards the Seven Cities, in company with 300 
natives who had joined him; that so far as he had travelled he had 
found no deceit in the Indians, and that therefore full credit was due 
to all they said about the rich countries to which he was leading the 
way. And to this commendation Father Marcos assures us he could 
add his own testimony "that in the 112 leagues he had journeyed 
since first hearing of Cibola, he had always found them truthful and 
trustworthy." 



THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. 37- 

Father Marcos was now, May 9, 1539, within 15 days' journey of 
Cibola. The remainder of his way was a desert, over which he trav- 
elled 12 days, and consequently arrived within three days of Cibola, 
when the melancholy intelligence reached him of the barbarous and 
inhuman inhospitality of the Cibolans, and the massacre of Estevanico 
and all his friends. The tragic news was brought by an Indian, who 
said "that Estevanico, when within one days' journey of Cibola, had 
sent forward messengers to the governor with presents of strings of 
bells and coloured feathers; that the governor, upon their approach, 
flew into a great passion, flung the presents into the fire, and said he 
knew the people from whom they came, and that should they enter 
Cibola, they should surely all be put to death; that Estevanico, not- 
withstanding this threat, persuaded his companions they would still 
be well received; that accordingly they all proceeded to the city, 
which, however, they were not allowed to enter; but, after being strip- 
ped of everything they carried, they were imprisoned in a large house, 
and the next day the people of Cibola fell upon and massacred them. "^ 

It was difficult at first to credit this evil report; but soon afterwards 
two of the Indians who had accompanied Estevanico, and who had 
escaped the massacre, arrived and confirmed it in every particular, 
adding " that they themselves had only escaped by hiding among the 
dead bodies of their companions until after night-fall." The account 
of so great a disaster, thus brought and thus confirmed, at a moment 
when his imagination was worked up for far other intelligence, so 
confused and so horrified Father Marcos that for a long time he knew 
not what to do. He, however, like a good Christian as he was, event- 
ually composed his mind to patience, and retired apart to pray and 
commend himself to God. But alas, his absence only added to his 
troubles. Upon his return a new cause of danger and inquietude 
stared him in the face. The Indians, who had escaped the slaughter, 
having leisure to discuss their situation, came to the conclusion that 
he was the cause of all their misfortunes, and conspired to put him 
to death. It was an occasion upon which such a man as Cortes would 
have exhibited some master-stroke of policy as a soldier; Father 
Marcos acted simply as a priest and missionary. He ordered all his 
merchandise and trinkets to be brought forth, and, after dividing 
them among the Indians, informed them " that they would now gain 
nothing by his death, and that should they kill him, the Christians 
would surely avenge his death. " And thus he saved his life. By the 
effect either of his words or of his liberality, the Indians were ap- 
peased, and made no attempt to put their threats in execution. 



38 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Father Marcos, finding himself thus delivered from imminent dan- 
ger, and considering that he might safely see, even if he could not 
visit, the great object of his search, continued his journey with the few 
companions who still remained faithful; and the next day, upon as- 
cending the ridge of a mountain, came within view of the famous 
Cibola. Glorious was the sight now presented to his eyes. Far be- 
low him, in a plain among the hills, within a short distance of each 
other, lay the Seven Cities, shining in the sun; with their long streets 
of stone houses several stories high and flat-roofed, and darkened by 
a population more numerous than that of Mexico. No wonder Father 
Marcos, upon beholding this beautiful sight, and gazing down upon 
it long and earnestly, was tempted to descend and enter the forbid- 
den precincts; but remembering that if he were killed no one would 
carry back the news of his discoveries, he wisely refrained. He con- 
tented himself with setting up a great pile of stones, surmounted with 
a cross, and thus claimed possession of the whole country of Cibola, 
and of the kingdoms of Marata, Acus, and Totonteac in the name of 
his friend and patron, Don Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy and Gov- 
ernor of New Spain, for the Crown of Castile and Leon. Having 
thus made his discovery, and convinced himself, with his own eyes, 
of the existence and magnificence of the Seven Cities, Father Marcos 
set out upon his return. On his way back he turned aside at the 
golden valley, of which he had heard on his outward journey, and 
approached near enough to see its towns and people, of which he 
also took nominal possession, and erected a Cross as he had done 
at Cibola. He then hastened to Culiacan, and thence to Compos- 
tella, the capital of New Galicia, whence he sent advices of his dis- 
coveries to Mexico. 

The report of this journey, as might be supposed, filled all New 
Spain with novelty and excitement. There was enough of uncertainty 
about it to give free scope to the imagination, and enough of truth, 
we may well believe now, to convince the reason. It sounded almost 
like a fairy tale, and yet it was told by a Father of the Church. Now, 
at least, it became probable that all the discoveries and conquests 
hitherto made in the New World would be eclipsed. Nothing now 
was thought of but Cibola. Every man partook of the absorbing en- 
thusiasm, from the old captain, who had seen the Aztecan and Toltecan 
capitals in their pristine magnificence and was now enjoying his re- 
partimientos and revenues, down to the half-clad recruit, last come 
from Europe in search of employment and fortune. Even the cautious 
Mendoza and other officers of government were inspired with the 



THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. 39 

same ardour, while on the mind of Cortes, being, as it was, the proof 
of his long settled belief in the wealth and splendour of those distant 
regions, it must have produced a profound effect. 

The conqueror, who by his emperor had been named Captain-Gen- 
eral of New Spain and of the coasts of the South Sea, held the right, 
according to the terms of his capitulacion, of making discoveries and 
conquests of all countries in the New World beyond the jurisdiction 
of other Spanish governors. He had already built many ships and 
spent vast sums in projects directed towards the countries of the 
northwest, the very ones into which Marcos de Niza had penetrated. 
But he now found two great rivals, whom the reports of the wealth 
and splendour of the Seven Cities induced to enter the field against 
him. One was Mendoza, the Viceroy, who laid claim to the new coun- 
tries in right of his office and of the possession taken of them in his 
name. The other was Pedro de Alvarado, governor of Guatemala, 
who had recently managed to obtain a commission to make discov- 
eries, and was now preparing an armament beyond anything which 
had ever appeared in the Pacific. 

From one end to the other. New Spain now resounded with the 
noise of preparation; recruits were gathered, arms furbished, stores 
collected, and everything got ready for the march. Cortes, Mendoza, 
and Alvarado, each in his own sphere, pushed on their projects; but 
Cortes, with that celerity of movement peculiar to his genius, far out- 
stripped his competitors. Long before they were ready to start, he 
equipped a great fleet and dispatched it up the northern coast under 
the charge of that most faithful and perhaps most deserving of his 
officers, Francisco de Ulloa. Ulloa completely explored the Gulf of 
California, weathered Cape San Lucas, and ran up along the western 
coast of the peninsula, till meeting heavy weather in the northern 
seas, and finding his crew disaffected, he turned about. On his re- 
turn, when almost within sight of the port from which he set out, he 
was basely assassinated by one of his soldiers, and his fleet scattered, 
without having either seen or heard anything further of the Seven 
Cities. In the meanwhile Alvarado, the Murat of those times, before 
he was ready to take his final start, was killed by a fall from his 
horse, and his enterprise also broken up. Mendoza, on the contrary, 
succeeded in sending a force to the new country, consisting of 150 
horsemen, 200 infantry, and some light pieces of artillery, under the 
command of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, governor of New Gal- 
icia. The leader of this expedition appears to have been a man of 
cold disposition, with not a spark of enthusiasm or romance in his 



40 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA, 

composition. One cannot help thinking him a methodical and careful 
soldier, and undoubtedly he was an able leader ; but the reader of the 
old chronicles in which his exploits are recorded can hardly thank him 
for his strange incredulity in a land so full of wonders ; and the Span- 
ish nation may attribute to him, in great part, the non-development, 
and perhaps the subsequent loss, of the richest mineral territory on 
the face of the earth. 

Coronado set out from Culiacan on April 22nd, 1540, with the express 
design of conquering the Seven Cities, and all the countries in that 
part of the world. When he reached the neighborhood of the valley 
among the mountains, which Marcos de Niza had reported to be full 
of gold, he sent off a detachment of horsemen to reconnoitre it. They 
did so, but brought back cold comfort. He assures us they found 
•neither cities, nor gold, nor anything, but a few Indians, who lived 
upon maize, beans, and calabashes, and in warfare used poisoned 
arrows, with which they killed several of his soldiers. He thereupon 
continued his march; taking, however, a somewhat different route 
from that pursued by Marcos de Niza; for he crossed several moun- 
tain chains and two rivers, one of which he called the San Juan, and 
the othfer the Balsas. In the course of a month or more, having 
passed over countries diversified with deserts, fruitful valleys, moun- 
tains and plains, in all of which there was nothing to attract his at- 
tention, he at last stood, with his army, before Cibola — Cibola the 
famous, Cibola the renowned! The imaginations of all had been 
raised to the highest pitch by Marcos de Niza's account of his recon- 
naisance of this renowned locality from the mountains. But all that 
Coronado could now see was a few small towns, consisting of houses 
built, indeed, of stone, and having flat roofs, but peopled with only 
a few hundred miserable inhabitants. He admits that the country 
was delightful, and the soil fruitful; but he intimates, and indeed 
virtually declares, that the narrative of Marcos was a fable. He, 
Coronado, could finding nothing worthy of conquest, nothing to at- 
tract emigration, nothing to justify settlement. The country was 
remote; and there was in it neither civilization, nor splendour, nor 
wealth, nor turquoises, nor precious stones, nor silver, nor gold. 

Coronado was of too unimpressive and too unimaginative a nature 
to observe objects of scientific or historical interest; and, not finding 
the expected wealth, he contemptuously turned his back upon the 
Seven Cities and proceeded in search of Marata, Acus, and Totonteac. 
These towns, when he reached them, he found to be similar to those 
he had just left. But one important fact he could not help noticing, and 



THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. 41 

this was that all the streams which he came to ran towards the Gulf 
of Mexico. One of these in particular, the largest he saw, he followed 
twenty leagues towards its source, and in that short distance passed 
fifteen towns. He appears to have travelled eastwardly and north- 
wardly, after leaving Cibola, for nearly three weeks, and at length 
arrived at a country where the plains, as far as the eye could reach, 
were black with herds of buffaloes, so crowded together that his troops 
could scarcely pass. Here he heard of Quivira, a country still fur- 
ther north, governed by Tatarrax, a hoary-headed, long-bearded king, 
said to worship a Golden Cross and an image of the Queen of Heaven. 
To this venerable monarch Coronado now determined to pay his re- 
spects; and, after travelling a whole month northward in search of 
him, at length arrived at his dominions. But these, though they ex- 
ceeded Cibola in fame, proved also quite as unimportant and incon- 
siderable. Nothing found favour in the eyes of Coronado — neither 
the country, the vegetation, the animals, the inhabitants, nor the 
natural wonders; neither the mountains, nor the streams, nor the 
forests, nor the plains, nor the cities, nor the fields. Cold and un- 
impassioned, he calculated the mere number of leagues which he had 
travelled; set up a Cross and an inscription to notify the future ad- 
venturer that Coronado had been there before him, and then, turning 
about, carried back to Mexico a chilling account of the North, and 
with one fell swoop, dashed all the golden prospects which had been 
excited in regard to it. 

The report of Coronado dissipated entirely the hitherto imagined 
glories of the north and northwest; so much so, that for many years 
afterwards little was said or thought of the Seven Cities, or of Marata, 
Acus and Totonteac, or of Quivira. Nobody visited them; nobody 
cared for them; ages passed away; the dust of centuries gathered 
around the old records, and they were forgotten. It is true that, in 
the course of time, the Spaniards spread further and further north- 
ward, settled in the countries which reach from the Mississippi to the 
Bay of San Francisco, and established t\\Q\x pueblos in the same valleys 
which Cabeza de Vaca, Marcos de Niza, and Vasquez de Coronado 
had traversed; but they were not the Spaniards of the olden time. 
It is true that the Spanish name advanced over all these regions; but 
it was not until after the magnificent empire of Charles I and Philip 
II had fallen into the hands of their feeble and puerile successors, 
and the ancient enterprise of Spain and the Spanish people had be- 
come a thing of the past. It is true that in name the Spanish sway 
was extended over these vast territories; but in reality the sovereignty 



42 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

remained rather in the roving bands of Apaches and Comanches than 
passed to the descendants of the conquerors. 

Since the times of the old chroniclers, in whose works lie scattered 
the details which we have thus far attempted to collect and connect 
together, little, if any, new information in regard to Cibola, anC her 
famous Seven Cities, has been acquired. Historiographers have done 
nothing more than repeat the old story; and travellers, until very re- 
cently, have not considered it worth while to search into the question, 
what basis of truth existed for this strange episode in Spanish-Amer- 
ican history. For three hundred years readers have commiserated 
the melancholy fate of Estevanico, and been amused at the credulous 
recitals of Marcos de Niza. The wrath of the Cibolan governor, 
when tendered the present of bells and feathers, has interested those 
who could appreciate the ludicrous and humorous; and his assevera- 
tion, that he knew the people from whom they came, can not have 
failed to attract the attention of those who had a taste for specula- 
tion and wonder. But here the interest on the subject seemed to 
stop. Full faith and credit was attributed to the report of Coronado; 
and when he declared there was "nothing in it," the question was 
supposed to be settled and at rest. 

Marcos de Niza may have been something of a visionary. His 
stories about the sea, which he saw in the middle of the continent, 
and his acceptance of the unicorn fable, and the ready credence he 
gave to marvels he did not see, and the improbable splendours which 
he supposed he beheld from distant prospects in the mountains — all 
go to shake the dependence which might otherwise be due to his 
testimony. But if he was something of a Munchausen, Vasquez de 
Coronado was much more of a Sir Charles Coldstream. Marcos de 
Niza, doubtless, imagined more than he saw; but Vasquez de Coro- 
nado did not see what really existed. There are no evidences, now 
ascertainable, to fully sustain the marvelous accounts of Marcos, but 
there are many proofs within easy reach t6 overthrow the skeptical 
and incredulous narrative of Coronado. For, notwithstanding all 
the exaggerations and marvels with which the name of Cibola has 
been connected, and notwithstanding it has for ages been regarded 
as a mere figment of romance, it is now well ascertained, it is indeed 
a fact incapable of dispute or contradiction, that a great people, 
considerably advanced in civilization, inhabited the countries of 
which these old Spanish adventurers have made their various reports. 

It is particularly within the last few years — since these countries 
have become a part of the United States, and since they have been 



THE SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. 43 

found to lie in the track of one at least of the great trans-continental 
railroads — that they have attracted public attention. Scientific men 
have visited and explored them, traversed, measured, and studied 
them. And among their discoveries the famous old Seven Cities, or 
what is supposed with much reason to have been the Seven Cities, 
and many others, which may have well have flourished in the age of 
Marcos de Niza and Vasquez de Coronado, have come to light. The 
ruins found half buried in the valleys of the rivers Chaco, Zuni, and 
the tributaries of the Rio Grande, give evidence of an old population 
far advanced beyond the Indian of the present day. There, almost 
entirely covered with the rubbish and debris of centuries, are to be 
seen the remains of magnificent structures, the masonry and archi- 
tecture of which indicate an unexpected combination of science and 
skill. Some of the buildings consisted of more than a hundred 
separate apartments on the ground floor alone, and some show that 
they were three or more stories in height. The walls were painted 
and pictured, and the remnants of coloured pottery scattered about, 
indicate a degree of polish and refinement of which savages could 
not be susceptible. By whom these houses were erected, and these 
pictures and decorations designed, we can only conjecture. Whether 
they were reared by the same inhabitants whom Cabeza de Vaca, 
Marcos de Niza, and Vasquez de Coronado first made known to Eu- 
ropeans, or whether they were the work of earlier inhabitants, of 
the Aztecs, or the still earlier Toltecs, is mere matter of specula- 
tion. Whoever the people may have been, and whenever the struc- 
tures may have been built, it is certain that the traveller in those 
regions finds much to wonder over in the strange masonry and fallen 
terraces which he meets. 

He can reconstruct in imagination, from what still remains, the 
habitations of a race which must once have had a regular policy and 
a ofovernment of law.' 



&^ 



' Theodore H. Hittell, in "The Californian," 1880. 



44 



CHAPTER VI. 



ABORIGINAL MEXICO. 



Various media of exchange used by the Mexicans — The official system consisted of 
cacao-butl and copper xiqui — Table of equivalents — Analogy of xiqui, sequin and 
zecchin — Probable common origin — Value of the cacao-butl maintained by monopoly 
and limitaticn of their issues — Prerogative of money — Method of notation — Antiquity 
of the score — Mexican mcarnation date probably Buddhic — Wonderful stability in the 
value of cacao-butl throughout three centuries of time — Demonetization of the xiqui 
by the Spaniards — Introduction of Spanish copper quartos and octavos — The natives 
toss these coins into the Lake — Spanish attempt to demonetize cacao-butl — Its failure 
— Return to the use of cacao-butl in 1536. 

MANY innocent people, whose sole conception of money is that 
of a coin, that is to say a piece of gold, silver or copper, 
stamped with figures or letters, have denied that the aboriginal Mexi- 
cans were acquainted with the use of money. This view is wholly 
erroneous. The Mexicans not only used mouey, they had several 
kinds of it. They used copper "chisel " money and cacao beans, 
the latter being called cacabutl or cacao money, also patlachte, or 
pataste, from patla, exchange. In provinces remote from commer- 
cial centres they also used for money cotton stuffs, called patolcu- 
achtli, measuring, it, as the Norsemen cf the same period did their 
vadmal, by the ell. They used linen-cloth in the same way. Small 
packets of feathers were also used as a medium of exchange in remote 
places, and probably also clay coins for small change. ' Humboldt also 
mentions gold dust in transparent quills; but this was probably only 
after the Conquest. Previous to that event and for some reason un- 
known to us, possibly the Buddhic interdict upon the use of gold 
money," gold was not used for money; and possibly for this very rea- 
son it was inferior in value to copper. It certainly was not for lack 
of skill in beating gold into plates, or fashioning the plates into coins, 
for the native gold jewellery proves that these arts were well known; 

' The Smithsonian Report for 1876, p. 399, mentions clay-stamps for printing cot- 
ton-cloths. These could scarcely have failed to suggest baked clay coins, such as 
were used in China, Chaldea and Egypt. 

2 See Del Mar's His. Prec. Met. ch. xxiv. 



ABORIGINAL MEXICO. 45 

indeed, very shortly after the Conquest, the gold ducats and castel- 
lanos of the Conquerors were counterfeited by the natives. * 

Setting aside the commodities used in remote districts in the place 
of money, the usual currency of the Mexican empire consisted of 
chisel-shaped flat copper (sometimes tin) pieces and cacao beans, 
upon the following scale of equivalents: 

Mexican Money before the Conquest. 
20 cacao beans, - - - i olotl. 

20 olotl, .... I zontle. 

20 zontle, - ... I xiquipili. 

3 xiquipili, - . . - i carga. 

Carga is a Spanish word, meaning a load. The native word for the 
carga of 24,000 cacao beans has not been preserved. The name and 
value of the copper piece are also lost. In all probability it was 
called the xiquipili and was valued at 8,000 beans. As the carga of 
beans was afterwards valued by the Spaniards at 15 pesos (200 beans 
to the real de plata) it follows that the xiquipili was worth 5 pesos. 
Therefore, in a certain sense, this piece among the aboriginal Mexi- 
cans, represented, amongother native moneys, what the "sovereign" 
now does in England, and the half eagle in the United States. This 
valuation must not be taken to relate to its purchasing power over 
commodities. 

There is curious resemblance between the xiquipili and the sequin 
of Venice. Sequin is a corruption of zecchin, from zeccha, the Ara- 
bian name for mint-house, a term derived from zekkeh or sikka, a 
die or stamp. "The privilege of sikkeh, /. e. of coinage, was among 
the first things Mahometan kings thought about, on ascending the 
throne."* Zikka, again, is from sicca, an Oriental term, which the 
Arabians brought into Europe from India, where it still exists in the 
name of the sicca rupee. Teleologically, sicca means a cutting in- 
strument, alluding to the tool employed for cutting and rounding or 
otherwise shaping the coin. From this word we have chisel, scissors 
and several other English terms, used for cutting instruments. Xiqui 
seems to have been also the Mexican word for chisel. It appears not 
only in the name of the chisel-shaped copper and tin "coins" of 
Mexico, called xiquipili, it also appears in the name of the mint-house 

' The viceroy Mendoza, in a letter to the king, dated Mexico, Dec. 10, 1537, says 
that the native goldsmiths had recently counterfeited the Spanish testoons minted at 
Axiquipilco. The cacao-butl were also cleverly imitated in clay. 

■* Poole's " Essay on Coins", p. 162. 



46 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

called Axiquipilco, where in 1535 the Spaniards established a mint 
for coining. Like sequin, which meant both a coin (the gold ducat) 
and a mint-house, xiqui appears to have had the same double mean- 
ing. It is quite probable that both words emanated from the same 
source — India. It might be added that there is no warrant for spel- 
ling the Mexican term as xiqui, except that it comes to us through 
the obsolete Spanish orthography of the sixteenth century. The same 
sounds would now be conveyed by means of ziki, or siki. 

The xiqui (or xiquipili) was current not only in Mexico but also in 
Yucatan, where the inferior money consisted of bell-shaped copper 
pieces, something like the bell-shaped pieces of China; also of cacao- 
beans and shells, the latter suggesting the cowries of India. The 
shape of the xiqui was like that of the blade of the domestic meat 
chopping-knife of the present day. The xiqui measured about 4)^ 
inches from tip to tip, and 4^ inches from the extremes of blade 
and shaft, and was about one-twelfth of an inch thick. The edges 
were raised by being beaten back. ^ It was this peculiar shape that 
constituted its " mark of authority ". Similar shaped " coins " were 
minted by the Chinese of a remote age, some of which are in the 
possession of the writer. Specimens of the Mexican xiqui, also of 
the Chinese coins of the same shape are in the collection of Paris, 
where the writer has studied them. The earliest allusion to the xiqui 
is in a letter of Cortes to the king, dated October 15, 1524, in which 
he says that tin money circulated in Taxco and other provinces of 
the empire. The earliest mention of the cacao-butl of New Spain 
IS by Columbus, in his journal or log-book of 1502. Mr. Brevoort 
adds that in Guatemala they were called zicarfa and zapote; the for- 
mer term being another reminiscence of zikka or sicca. Butl, meaning 
money, has also a resemblance to the Scotch word bootle, and Danish 
buidel having the same meaning. Its modern anonym is boodle. 

Returning from this verbal digression to the Mexican system of 
money, the value of the cacao-bean was maintained by limitation. 
The growing of cacao trees was a prerogative of the crown, and where 
the imperial authority was weak, it became a prerogative of the feu- 
dal lords. Reasoning by analogy, the control of the copper mines 
must have been similarly monopolized in order to maintain the value 
of the xiqui. By this it is not intended to assert that these mines 
were worked as the Spaniards afterwards worked them, namely, by 

^ A full sized engraving of the xiqui appeared in the American Journal of Numis- 
matics, Vol. V, No. 2. One of these " coins " was exhibited at a meeting of the Bos- 
ton Num. Soc. in May, i860. 



ABORIGINAL MEXICO. 47 

deep excavations. The Mexicans had no iron or steel tools. Their 
excavations were, therefore, very superficial; and only such mines 
were worked at all as contained native copper close to the surface. 

Although no mention of the fact occurs in the works consulted by 
the author, it is believed that the monopoly of growing the trees of 
the cacao beans used for money, which was exercised by the native 
government before the Spanish Conquest, was continued by the Span- 
iards after that event; otherwise, it is difficult to understand how the 
value of the beans was maintained, as it certainly was maintained. 
There is nothing surprising in the absence of such a record; for the 
Spanish writers as a rule took but little heed of anything relating to 
the natives, beyond the precious metals, the encomienda system and 
the mita, both of which were agencies for the production of gold and 
silver and for the control of native labour. 

Concerning a people of whom so little is known as the aboriginal 
Mexicans, the slightest clue may be of importance. It will be observed 
that in their monetary system the multiplier is always, except in the 
last instance, twenty. Multiplying by the score is an Indian custom 
of very high antiquity, antedating the period of the second Buddha, 
whose followers altered the common system of notation by using the 
dozen for a multiplier, in place of the score. Traces of both of these 
notations were preserved in the Roman system of ^. s. d.* From 
these considerations the establishment of the Mexican system ot 
money may reasonably be dated far backward into antiquity, though 
not so far backward as their area of Votan or Woden, B. C. 955, 
which is a Buddhic date of the Incarnation still employed in Tartary, 
Tibet and China'. It may reasonably he conjectured that this date 
was brought to Mexico by the Buddhic missionaries of A. D. 488, 
the account of whose voyage is given by Mr. Vining \ and employed, 
as most of the incarnation seras were employed, retrospectively.* 

The cacao beans, so commonly employed for money both in Mexi- 
co, Yucatan and other American states, were the product not of the 
common, but of a peculiar cacao-tree, whose pods contained from 20 
to 40 beans each. The term olotl may, therefore, have also been 
employed for pod. The equivalents employed by the Spaniards were 
10 olotl to the real or 80 olotl or 1,600 cacao-butl to the peso. In 

« Hist. Mon. Sys., ed. 1895, chap. vii. 
■" "The Worship of Augustus," chap. vn. 
8 Vining's " Inglorious Columbus." 

' Such was the case with all of the Indian, Chaldean, Egyptian, Greek and Roman 
ideal incarnation seras. Cf. " The Worship of Augustus." 



48 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Humboldt's time, the early part of the present century, cacao-butl 
were still employed by the natives in suburban districts for small 
ehange, the equivalents being 72 to the medio, or 1,152 to the peso. 
The rise in the value of cacao-butl, compared with Spanish silver 
coin, was therefore less than 39 per cent, in the course of three cen- 
turies; a record for stability which neither gold nor silver coins, com- 
pared with commodities, can show in any age or country known to the 
writer. That the cacao-butl should have risen in value as between a 
period, that of Cortes, when the preciousmetals were freely acquired 
by plunder and that of Humboldt, when they were expensively ob- 
tained by means of capital and labor employed in mining, is an evi- 
dence of their merit as an equitable measure of value. 

After the Conquerors had exhausted the resources of plunder and 
cruelty they found it necessary to trade with the natives and even 
among themselves. For this purpose there was no other than the na- 
tive money. In order to avoid the use of what to them was an un- 
accustomed and uncouth currency, the Spaniards, according to Mr. 
J. C. Brevoort, struck or cast a number of round copper coins, quar- 
tos and octavos, in the name of the King of Spain, the designs and 
legends upon which are given in the American Numismatic Journal 
for October, 1881. They probably at the same time demonetized or 
decried the native xiqui, for the reason that with their resources for 
mining copper, that metal must have so enormously declined in value 
as to render the xiqui comparatively valueless as multipliers for the 
cacao-butl. Whether in resentment for such demonetization, or for 
some other reason which the Spanish historians have failed to men- 
tion, the natives, though obliged to accept, declined to pass, this 
money; and contemptuously tossed it into the Lake of Mexico. Ac- 
cording to Herrera this was in 1522; while Torquemada less explicitly 
assigns it to some time previous to 1535. 

In 1527 the Spaniards, in order to force the currency of their cop- 
per coins, forbade the cacao-butl to be passed by count and ordered 
it to be sold by the heaped measure; an attempt to degrade it from 
the function of money to the condition of a commodity. This attempt 
resulted in so much difficulty, friction and evasion, that in 1536 the 
edict was repealed and the cacao-butl resumed its ancient sway as a 
convenient and acceptable measure of value among the natives; pre- 
cisely as cowrie shells still maintain their ancient sway as money in 
some portions of India. '" 

'" The number of cacao-butl to the peso de plata and that of Chinese " cash " to the 
same coin was not unlike; that is to say about 1,600 to i. 



49 



CHAPTER VII. 



ABORIGINAL PERU, 



A stable system of money essential to the organization of states — Peru had evi- 
dently repeatedly tried metallic systems and failed — Superabundant but fitful supply 
of the precious metals — Attempt to regulate this by monopolizing the mines — Failure 
of this measure — Final abandonment of metallic money — Adoption of barter with 
"Country Pay" for money and capsicum pods for small change. 

A NATION consists of land and a people organized for defence, 
attack, social intercourse and the administration of justice. 
The things most essential in effecting such organization are military- 
advantages and a stable monetary system. Thus, in the great re- 
organization of France which followed the Revolution of 1789, the 
ancient arms and tactics were abandoned in favour of the artillery and 
improved military methods advocated by Napoleon ; in the reorgani- 
zation of Japan, after the Revolution of 1867, the feudal bow and 
arrow, and the control of the daimios over the issues of money, were 
superseded by European arms and a national mint; and in the re- 
organization of Afghanistan, in 1880, the Ameer, (Abdul Rahman,) 
began by establishing simultaneously a manufactory of cannons, rifles 
and ammunition, and a national mint, both located at Caubul and 
both under European superintendence. Should the European powers, 
instead of partitioning China, permit her to reorganize her govern- 
ment, it is safe to predict that her first efforts will be directed to- 
wards establishing an army and other national military advantages 
founded upon the character and resources of the land and people; 
and a monetary system based upon the national power and credit, 
supported by such improved military system. 

In his somewhat romantic but popular "History of Peru," Pres- 
cott repeatedly lays down the sweeping assertion that the Peruvians 
"had no knowledge of money ; " but this is a very superficial view of 
the matter. The Peruvians not only had a knowledge of money, 
they had evidently had a very unhappy experience of the subject, es- 
pecially with money of the precious metals. As explained in another 
work, gold and silver, far from being the best, are among the worst 



5© HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

materials out of which to fabricate the symbols of money '; because 
they are the least destructible of all substances; and unless the con- 
ditions under which they are employed are favourable to their rapid 
and continuous consumption in the arts, they would soon become 
superabundant and rapidly decline in value. In Peru they had got 
to make water pipes and tanks of gold; and household utensils, and 
even planking of silver. The arts could consume no more. 

Owing to her isolation (for according to Prescott, Peru was una- 
ware of the existence of, and was certainly not in communication with 
Mexico, or indeed with any other organized state,) another and more 
striking danger attended the use of gold or silver for money-symbols. 
There being no international stock on hand of these metals to act as 
a buffer against the effects of new supplies, it followed that the dis- 
covery and working of every new placer or quartz vein threatened to 
entirely revolutionize prices and disintegrate the social order. The 
monopoly of the mines of copper, gold and silver, by the sovereign- 
pontiff of Peru, a fact which Prescott himself admits \ almost amounts 
to a conclusive proof that coins of these metals had been tried in 
Peru and abandoned as an impracticable measure of value. Precisely 
the same thing had happened in ancient times in India, in the Greek 
states of Sparta, Byzantium, Clazomenae, etc., in Carthage and even 
in Rome. All these states had tried gold or silver and sometimes 
both of these metals for coins and had eventually given them up and 
resorted to numerary moneys as a refuge from fluctuating prices and 
unstable social conditions. But several of these states, when they 
abandoned gold and silver moneys, neglected to alter those laws re- 
lating to gold and silver mining which the original use of such moneys 
had rendered necessary. ^ Hence, even after they resorted to nu- 
merary moneys, the old mining laws remained. Such also was ap- 
parently the case in Peru. At the period of the Spanish Conquest, 
the gold and silver moneys had disappeared and given place to farm- 
produce, with peppers in pods for small change, something like the 
" country pay " of the British- American Colonies, mentioned further 

' Del Mar's " Hist. Money in Ancient States," Ch. I. 

^ The Mines of Peru, both of copper, silver and gold, were made by law the exclu- 
sive property and prerogative of the Inca. Prescott, "Conquest of Peru," ed. 1874, 

1, 32, 56. 

^ Rome was not one of these neglectful states. When she abandoned gold and silver 
coins for a numerary system, about B. C. 385, she very wisely closed her gold and 
silver mines. Pliny, N. H., Ill, 24; xxxiii, 21. China did the same thing. "Hist. 
Precious Metals," p. 346. 



ABORIGINAL PERU. 5I 

on in the present work. * But the old mining laws remained; and 
the Inca, for no other imaginable reason than neglect to alter them, 
retained that exclusive control over the product of the precious metals 
which had evidently belonged to a period when it was necessary in 
the public interest to attempt to regulate their production. 

Something of the same sort may be witnessed to-day in the United 
States of America. There, the mining laws are those of ancient Rome 
and medieval Spain; while the monetary laws are those of the British 
Mercantile asra. The mining laws were designed to stimulate the 
production of gold and silver, in order to provide an ample supply of 
those materials for coinage. There are no royalties, no licenses, nor 
no taxes on mines, in the United States; a mine belongs to anybody 
who can find one; and he even has the right to pursue his vein under 
the surface of another man's land. The monetary laws, copied from 
the British Act of i8, Charles II., c. 5, entirely defeat the object of 
these provisions; for they oblige gold and silver to be coined by the 
government and endowed with its credit (the function of legal tender) 
free of charge. As there is no interdict or tax upon exportation, 
they enable the beneficiaries under this act to melt such metal down 
or else ship it away to foreign countries, without loss or hindrance. * 
These privileges, which were formerly granted to both metals and 
are still idiotically attached to gold, entirely defeat the mining laws, 
whose object it was to afford the country an ample metallic supply. 
The monetary system of the United States is suffering from the es- 
cape of the precious metals to foreign countries and their absence or 
fitful presence in the home circulation. That of native Peru suffered 
from a superabundance of these metals. Yet the empire was so weak 
and disunited that with all its afiluence of gold and silver, Atahualpa 
found it difficult to collect his Ransom " within the time prescribed by 
his captors. That the government of the Incas was in a moribund 
state, its arts, institutes, religion and feudal condition indicate as 
plainly as possible. Already had the hierarchy split in twain. Had 

* As with individuals, the childhood and old age of states often present similar 
characteristics or surroundings. There is a period, common to both individuals and 
societies, when the lines of growth and decay cross each other. " Science of Money," 
Ch. II. 

' These absurd laws make it criminal to melt coins within the country, while they 
facilitate and promote their melting abroad. 

* The Ransom was erroneously computed in my " History of the Precious Metals," 
ed. iSSo, p. no, at ;^3, 500,000. Itreally amounted to about ;^900,ooo, or $4,500,000, 
The principal obstacle to its collection within the time prescribed by Pizarro was the 
reluctance of the native priesthood to part with the treasures of the temples. Prescott. 



52 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

the Spaniards delayed their arrival for another century, the govern- 
ment would have inevitably gone to pieces; when the natives would 
have probably degenerated into savages. It was not without a reason 
that the richest fields of Spanish plunder in Peru were the graves, 
the temples and the houses of the princes and nobles. Sarmiento 
says that 100,000 castellanos (each of about the weight of a half sov- 
ereign) of gold were sometimes got from a single tomb (graveyard). 
Las Casas says that within 20 years of the Conquest more than half 
a million ducats (about a-fifth less in weight than castellanos) were 
taken from the graves of Truxillo. Humboldt says that in 1576 a 
Spaniard got from the sepulchre of a Peruvian prince near the same 
place a mass of gold worth a million of dollars. The temple at Cuzco 
was literally a mine of gold. The vases, domestic vessels, pipes and 
even the reservoirs for water, were made of gold or silver. The 
statues of gods and animals, even the flowers of the temple-altars, 
were made of these metals. On the march to Cuzco the Spaniards 
captured ten slabs of solid silver each 20 feet long, one foot wide 
and two or three inches thick, which were intended to decorate the 
dwelling of an Inca noble. This mass was sufficient to coin necrly 
half a million dollars. All these facts are narrated by Prescott him- 
self, who nevertheless wholly fails to detect their significance. The 
European economists unanimously decide that gold and silver are the 
substances best fitted by nature for the purposes of money, some of 
them even impiously call them the money of Providence, God's money, 
Nature's money, etc. Yet Prescott avers that the people who had 
more of God's money than ever any other people had, "knew noth- 
ing of money. " ' It might be added that they knew little more of God. 

On the contrary, the discerning mind can scarcely fail to perceive 
that the Peruvians had long used these metals for money, but had 
been constrained to abandon them on account of their singular un- 
suitableness for that purpose. They had doubtless learnt, from re- 
peated experiments and failures lasting through many ages, that the 
value of money and its usefulness as a measure of value, depend not 
upon the material of which the pieces are made, but upon the num- 
ber of such pieces; and they therefore, though reluctantly, had aban- 
doned such material to the baser purposes of decorative art and house- 
hold implements. 

Thefact that copper was more valuable than gold (Helps, iii, 478,) 
was due to the fact that gold was to be obtained and doubtless was 

"^ Prescott, I, 157, 170. 



ABORIGINAL PERU. 53 

obtained for the most part from placers; while copper had to be got 
from subterranean mines. Without iron or steel tools such mines 
could only be worked superficially, and probably none at all were 
worked except such as contained native metal near the surface. The 
same may be said of silver ; and though we have no record of the fact, 
this metal in aboriginal Peru was probably more valuable than gold. * 
A numismatic work of recognized authority explicitly states that 
in Peru before the Spanish Conquest, the pod of the uchu or capsi- 
cum was in common use as money. " This statement is fully borne 
out by reference to the Spanish historians; yet in none of them does 
there appear any succinct account of this money, nor of its value in 
other commodities, nor its equivalents in the Spanish metallic money 
which succeeded it. The social system of Peru was already so near 
dissolution that, like the Roman empire during the Middle Ages, but 
little money of any kind was necessary The lands of Peru belonged 
to the Inca and were held of him by his nobles. The cultivators 
were merely feudal tenants, who paid their taxes with one-third of 
their produce, which went to the Inca, and their rents with another 
third, which went to the Inca lords; the remaining third forming the 
sole personal reward for their exertions. The state was dying; and 
like all moribund subjects, it had gradually divested itself of even the 
means to live. The dissolution of Peru probably originated in the 
loss of such military advantages as had previously enabled it to resist 
foreign attack and suppress domestic sedition, but this loss was un- 
doubtedly accompanied by, if indeed it did not originate in, the decay 
of its monetary system ; an event which no state can long survive. 

* The Incas are said to have at least superficially worked the silver mines of Porcos 
before the Conquest. Their excavations consisted of small holes driven into the sides 
of the hills. Prescott. 

* " London Numismatic Journal," 1836-7, p. 158. A similar money was afterwards 
used by the far less civilized tribes on the Amazon. This consisted of cakes of wax, 
weighing about a pound each. Smyth, "Journey from Lima to Para,'' 1836. 



54 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE SPANISH COLONIES. 



Native population of Spanish-America — Destruction of life by the Conquerors — 
Total value of the spoil — Each life destroyed yielded about half a guinea — Indifference 
of posterity to this appalling sacrifice — Monetary system of the conquerors — Gold- 
dust and bars — Spanish coins — Demands for Colonial mints — The king raises the value 
of his gold coins — American mints authorized to coin silver only — Free coinage for 
taxed silver — Gold coinage authorized — The king doubles the value of all billon and 
copper coins — American mints closed — Tremendous outcry — Remarkable concessions 
of the Crown — Free coinage for taxed gold and silver, authorized in i6g8 — Worldwide 
and mischievous influence of this measure. 

It was the opinion of Sir Arthur Helps, who had access both to the 
published histories of America, and the Archives of Simancas, that 
at the period of the Conquest, that portion of America which fell to 
the Spaniards and Portuguese, contained upwards of thirty millions 
of inhabitants. The following table must be regarded only as a very 
rough approximation toward the details of this estimate. 

Population of Mexico and Central and South America, at the period of 

the Conquest. Authorities ; Las Casas; Alee do j H err era; Humboldt ; 

Helps; Macgreggor III, 1153; Appleton's Encyc. First ed. , art. * ^Inca. " 

Countries. Population. 

Hispaniola (Haiti and San Domingo) Las Casas says 3 

or 4 millions; let us say half 
Cuba; same .... 

Puerto Rico .... 

Mexico (Las Casas says 15 millions; 

says 5 millions) ; let us say . 
Nicaragua; say .... 
Guatemala; say 

Honduras; say .... 
Darien, Helps i, 391 
Peru (including Columbia, Bolivia, Equador and Chili) 

Helps III, 537, says 10 or 11 millions, without 

mentioning Chili: therefore let us say 
La Plata; say ........ 

Pearl Coast (Venezuela and Guiana) .... 

Brazil; say ........ 

Total (which substantially agrees with Helps) 32,000,000 



Raynal 11, 294 



1,500,000 

1,500,000 

500,000 

10,000,000 
250,000 
500,000 
300,000 
200,000 



1 1,000,000 

1,000,000 

250,000 

5,000,000 



IHE SPANISH COLONIES. 55 

In 1535, Father Las Casas, bishop of Chiapa, declared to Philip 
II, that in less than 40 years the Spaniards had destroyed 15 millions 
of these people. Sir Arthur Helps who went over the subject very 
carefully less than half a century ago, came to the conclusion that 
the destruction of native life varied between 12 and 15 millions of 
people. It has been a matter of common observation that the num- 
ber of negro slaves who were afterwards imported from Africa to fill 
this void, fell far short of the number of natives sacrificed by the 
Spaniards and Portuguese, yet the imported negroes amount to sev- 
eral millions. It is regarded as safe to assume that the population 
of Mexico and Central and South America at the period of the Dis- 
covery amounted to 30 millions, that it was reduced to 15 millions, 
and that it did not regain the 30 million line until about the year 
i860, since which time, however, it has doubled. 

Mr. Danson after very elaborate studies arrived at the conclusion 
that the total amount of spoil obtained by the Spaniards, before re- 
sort was had to mining, amounted in value to about ^8,000,000. 
It follows that each' human life destroyed yielded on the average 
about I OS. 8d, say half a guinea. How any human being possessed 
of the smallest degree of compassion — I say nothing of the clergy 
who since the day of bishop Las Casas and until that of bishop 
Walsh have persevered in an attitude of stolid indifference to this 
subject — can contemplate this terribly cruel and needless sacrifice of 
life without resolving that so far as his own efforts go, it shall never 
occur again, passes the writer's comprehension. Yet, the same thing 
is going on to-day in South Africa and apparently so far as the clergy 
is concerned it will go on forever. The hunt for gold began with 
the sacrifice of the copper-colored and black races; it will be fol- 
lowed by that of the yellow races; it may not end until it has exter- 
minated many of the white races. The passion for greed, extenuated 
by the logic of a false premiss, appears to be stronger than either 
the commandments of Moses or the gospels of the evangelists. 

The Spanish Colonists, (and this term may be here taken to include 
the Portuguese of Brazil) after they had plundered the natives, torn 
their temples and dwellings to pieces, and ransacked their graves in 
the search for treasure, found it necessary to create some sort of 
money in order to deal equitably with one another; on the principle 
that even among thieves there must be some sort of honesty. For 
this purpose they began by using such weights of gold and silver as 
agreed with those of the coins then employed in Spain. The silver, 
after paying the King's Fifth, was cast in bars, hammered into plate 



56 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

and punched into discs wliich were afterwards halved and quartered 
to the size or weight of tostones (4 reals) and pesetas; (2 reals;) 
some of them, or imitations of them, remaining in circulation down 
to a comparatively recent day. The gold was sealed up in little bags, 
or else cast into small bars. After the King's Fifth was deducted, 
these bars were stamped with the royal device, the date of their 
fabrication, their weight, fineness and value in Spanish gold coin. 

Besides the quinto on the production, the crown levied a seignior- 
age, " derechos," on the coinage. To evade as much as possible the 
payment of these exactions, the colonists, though at some inconven- 
ience to themselves, employed gold bars as money, whenever the 
magnitude or peculiarity of their transactions permitted. Unwilling 
to lose its "derechos," the Crown in 1589 forbade the use of gold- 
dust or gold or silver buillion as money in any case; but, of course, 
such an interdict was difficult to enforce. As a matter of fact, most 
of the bullion at this period went to the mints and submitted to the 
derechos. But this was not enough for the Crown, which, to extort 
an additional profit, had recourse to a new expedient. This was to 
raise the value of its silver, billon, and copper coins. 

Gold-dust in bags, or bars, or lumps of bullion, make a very in- 
convenient kind of money. Its value could only be determined and 
definitely expressed with reference to coins. If such money had been 
regarded merely as pieces of merchandise, a separate bargain would 
have had to be made in respect of each piece; and in the conclusion 
arrived at, very great allowances would have had to be made for such 
changes of value as each piece may prove to have undergone, un- 
known to the buyer, since the last bargain of like nature took place. 
But nothing of this sort occurred. It was well known how many 
coined "castellanos " each bar of gold contained and as well known 
how much each castellano would buy, either in Mexico or Seville. 
The inconvenience of using the bars arose from their great and un- 
even weights. It was seldom that a bar or slug weighed less than 
several ounces; and, as it was necessary to keep each adventurer's 
lot of gold or silver distinct from the other lots deposited at the 
smelting-houses, (the same practice is pursued in all refineries and 
mints to this day), it followed that the bars were of uneven weights 
and therefore worth uneven sums of money. For example the 
smallest gold bar had stamped upon it a certificate of somewhat the 
following character: "This bar weighs 7 ounces, 7 octavos and 11 
grains; fineness, 10 dineros, 19 grains." Such a piece as this, of 
uneven weight and requiring an intricate calculation to determine its 



THE SPANISH COLONIES. 57 

precise value in coined money, could not itself have been used as money 
except in rare instances; and the adventurers must have been willing 
to submit to any reasonable exaction on the part of the Crown rather 
than sell their bars, as otherwise they would have had to do, to priva- 
teers, smugglers, or other shady intermediaries. 

Even after such submission, their diiificulties were only half re- 
moved. By submitting to a tax of 20 per cent on production, plus 
the derechos and mint charges, they could exchange bullion for coins 
containing an equal weight of fine metal; but these coins, tostones 
and pesetas, were too large for all the transactions of traffic. What 
they needed was minor coins, with which to "make change." The 
Crown being fully aware of this, took advantage of it in 1603, by 
requiring the public to pay more metal than before for a given sum 
of such minor coins; in short, twice as much. Then it melted down 
this metal and fabricated more minor coins out of it, until at length 
the entire circulation of Spain came to consist of billon and copper 
pieces. The Spaniards put up with this, because there was no help for 
it short of revolution, a remedy to which at that period nobody 
dreamed of resorting; for the Castilian revolution of 1520 and its 
bloody repression by the Crown were fresh in the public mind. But 
with the American colonists it was different. The military arm of 
Spain was far away; there was an extensive back country in which to 
take refuge; the coasts were infested with privateers from Holland, 
England and other countries, all eager for gold and silver spoil and 
traffic; and so the surreptitious sale and export of bullion went on 
unceasingly. Unless the Crown lowered its quinto to a decimo and 
relinquished its derechos by 3Melding to the clamor for "free" coin- 
age, there was danger of its losing all the profits, both of production 
and seigniorage. 

Such was the modern origin of free coinage. It arose in Spain, as 
it afterwards did in England, from the unjust exactions, amounting 
almost to confiscation, on the part of the Crown, which forgot that 
it represented a State and only remembered its own personal advan- 
tage. It demanded from the community too much and in consequence 
it lost all; it lost to the State the control and regulation of money. 
This has already cost the peoples of Europe and America three cen- 
turies of suffering; it may yet cost them many bitter conflicts before 
it is recovered and lodged again in the only hands capable of ad- 
ministering it equitably — the hands of the State. 

Notwithstanding the gross impositions above alluded to and the 
complaints they occasioned, the Crown refused to relax the laws 



58 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

which forbade the exportation from Spain of coin or bullion. By the 
year 1510 the Spanish-American colonists had become sufficiently 
numerous to make their complaints heard in the mother country; and 
for the first time in the history of America a few coins were permitted 
to be exported thither from Spain. Herrera says that the fir t 
Spanish coins found their way this year to San Domingo, chiefly sil- 
ver reals. Counterfeit castellanos and ducados had also made their 
appearance in the circulation; indeed they seem to have been the 
earliest coins employed in the New World. In 1521 gold and silver 
coins were sent from Spain to Panama and in 1523 to Mexico. In 
1524 the king arbitrarily raised the value of his gold coins from 10 to 
11^ times that of silver coins of the same weight and fineness. In 
the following year quicksilver was sent to San Domingo; and Ponce 
de Leon, with a set of coinage dies, to Mexico; but owing to the 
difficulties which sprang up between this commander and Cortes, no 
use appears to have been made of them; perhaps they were lost or 
destroyed. In 1528 a petition from the colonists in Hispaniola com- 
plained that the gold coins sent from Spain were only 19 carats 
(0.791) fine and sometimes even baser; and they asked that the peso 
de oro (or castellano) be stamped at 450 maravedis (instead of, as we 
suppose, 490) ; also that 200 cuentos in silver reals and silver quartos 
be sent out from Spain. To the former complaint it is probable that 
no reply was vouchsafed; for, as we shall presently see, the King 
was meditating a still further enhancement in the (silver coin) value 
of his gold coins. To the latter, it is likely that the Crown com- 
plied by shipping out a lot of silver and billon coins; still, in 1531 
and again in 1535, complaints were made of a scarcity of small cur- 
rency. 

It was in this last named year that the first mints were established 
in America, although no coins were struck by them earlier than 1536.* 
These mints were in the cities of Mexico, (attached to which was 
the native auxilliary mint at Axixipilco,) Santa Fe and San Luis Po- 
tosi; all in Mexico and New Spain, which was then under the viceroy 
Mendoza. A mint to coin billon pieces for the King was also estab- 
lished at San Domingo, in the island of Hispaniola. Besides the 
Quinto, or fifth on production, or capture, there were levied three 
reals on every mark weight of silver, namely, two reals to cover the 
cost of coinage and one real for the King's seigniorage. A derecho 
of one and one-half per cent ad valorem, provided for in the law of 

' Mr. Brevoort contends that certain rude and undated copper coins of Juana and 
Charles were struck by Cortes; but the argument is not convincing. 



THE SPANISH COLONIES. 



59 



'^5^9, appears also to have been retained. All bullion presented for 
coinage must exhibit proofs of its having paid the Quinto, or else it 
is liable to confiscation. The exportation of coins, except to Spain, 
is forbidden. At this period all coins were made by hand, the coin- 
age-press not yet having been invented. The issues from the mints 
no sooner began than counterfeits of them made their appearance in 
the circulation, although the penalty for this offence was death. 
Even the native Mexicans imitated the Spanish- American testoons. 
As yet no gold coins were permitted to be struck in America; only 
silver and billon pieces. The mints began with tostones and pesetas; 
in 1537 they were permitted to add pesos de d ocho (dollars) and 
reals (eighths) all of the same weight and fineness as in Spain, " como 
en estos reynos. " After the King had raised the value of his gold 
coins, in maravedis, leaving the silver coins at their old valuation 
(34 maravedis to the real) the colonists declined to bring silver to 
the mints at this rate and in 1538 there were said to have been 50, 
000 ducats worth of base reals circulating in Hispaniola. In 1540 
a lot of uncoined silver helped to eke out the security of small coins; 
and in the same year the Crown was petitioned to stamp silver bul- 
lion for individuals at the rate of 44 maravedis to the real; but it re- 
fused. The city of Concepcion also petitioned for a mint to coin 
gold and silver, but without avail. 

This will be a convenient place in which to set forth the monetary 
system of Spain. The usual equivalents were 2 blancas equal to i 
maravedi; 4^ maravedis equal i ochavo; 8j4 maravedis equal i 
quarto; 17 maravedis equal i medio; 34 maravedis equal i real; 8 
reals equal one peso; 14 to 20 reals equal i castellano; 10 to 15 
reals equal i ducat; the equivalents varying, for the most part, with 
the changes made by the Crown from time to time in the ratio of gold 
to silver. The cuento, whose origin was the Roman centenary *, 
always consisted of 100 castellanos, or else their equivalent value in 
other coins. The peso, or dollar, is from thaler, the origin of which 
was the talent. The silver thaler of the Renaissance contained 565^ 
grains fine metal. This gradually fell to about AllY^. grains. The 
German Constitution thalers began with 452 and ended with 390 
grains fine. The Spanish piezas de d ocho, or pesos, or dollars, began 
in the year 1504 with 413.2 and ended in 1792 with 371^^^ grains fine. 
At this period and at this weight they were adopted by the United 
States government and they so remain at the present day. 

** Gibbon. 



6o 



HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 



Spanish Monetary System during the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella^ 
Juana and Charles I. , and Philip If. , according to Covarruvias, 
Ulloa, Heiss, Irving, Frescott, Helps, Brevoort ana the coins weighed 
by the writer. The coinage laws were altered so frequently during 
this period that to give a full and precise account of their operation 
would fill a large volutfie. These alterations include the raising of 
gold from lO.gS^ to 11.555 and 11.675, its loweri?tg to 10.755 {Edict 
of Medina, 14Q7) and its subsequent raising to 13.333 and 14.45 
times the value of silver. The gold ducat was repeatedly lowered in 
contents and in 1603 the billon coins were doubled in value. 



Gold Coins. 
Pistole or double ducat (Sir Isaac Newton) .... 
Castellano, or peso de oro. Prescott says $3.07; Ramirez (De 

Bow, II, 94) says $2.93 ... . , 

Peso ensayado (Prescott says this was one-fifth more than the 

ducat. Perhaps it was the old and heavier ducat compared 

with the, newer and lighter one) 
Ducat, or escudo, Ferd. and Isab. . 
Ducat, Juana .... 

Ducat of Netherlands, etc., Charles 
Ducat 

Ducat " ■* 
Ducat Philip II 



Troy gr. 
Silver Coins. fine. 

Peso dea echo, Ferd. and Isab. 413.200 

Peso " Juana-Charles 400.000 

Peso " Philip . . . 388.000 



Troy gr. 
fine. 

104.000 



72.116 



56.400 

54-000 
37.000 
36.250 
29.000 

33.125 



Silver Coins. 
Real de plata, Ferd. and Isab. 
keal " Juana-Charles 

Real " Philip . . . 



U. S. Coin 
Value. 

$5.00 



3,00 



2.43 
2.40 
1.60 
1.60 

1.25 
1.42 

Troy gr. 
fine. 

51.650 

50.000 

48.500 



It was precisely during the period of the above mentioned scarcity 
of coin in Hispaniola, year 1540, that De Soto was prospecting for 
gold in the Naucootchie valley of Georgia, Cortes r-educed to beg- 
gary, was being insulted in Spain, and the king was preparing to 
raise his gold coins to 13^?^ times the value of their weight of silver. 

This he did in 1546. It caused a great outcry in America; in 
Flanders it did more, it organized the Revolution. The American 
colonists took refuge in evading the law. Instead of carrying their 
silver to the Spanish mints, they smuggled it away, whenever they 
could, to foreign countries, and whenever they could not do so, they 
fashioned it into illicitly-made coins at the risk of their lives. Silver 
change went to a premium and it became so scarce that in 1544 the 
Mexican colonists complained that no billon coins had been sent out 
from Spain. In 1560, according to Zurita, silver coins in Mexico had 
again become scarce; in 1565 one-fifth of the total silver product of 



THE SPANISH COLONIES, 6l 

America was sent to the Philippines. "Mala moneda " is bitterly 
complained of in Hispaniola; so the mints were ordered to be over- 
hauled. In 1586 relief was sought by the issue of leather notes in 
San Domingo and Puerto Rico. These, the first issues of leather or 
paper notes in America, and the first in the European world since 1 364, 
were made by private individuals on their own credit and merely as 
a temporary makeshift. The coinage press was soon to come to their 
relief. In 1638, emissions of paper money were made in the same 
places; though not before the king of Spain had again (1579) raised 
the value of his gold coins, this time to 14.45 times the value of silver. " 

In 1 58 1 the weights and measures of New Castile and the vara of 
Old Castile were ordered to supersede the diverse weights and meas- 
ures of the American viceroyalties. In 1591, the American viceroys 
were authorized to furnish coined money in exchange for all silver 
bullion upon which the king's Quinto and other dues had been paid. 
This appears to have been a sort of countermove to the "individual 
coinage" of the Netherlands in 1572. However, so long as the 
Quinto and the other derechos were retained, the dangerous features 
of this legislation remained concealed. 

In 1589-95 gold, silver and billon moneys were authorized to be 
struck in Hispaniola; in 1589, copper coins were also authorized to 
be struck in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. This appears to be the 
first authorization of gold coinage in America. The same law (1595) 
fixed the following valuations: The gold escudo or ducat, 400; silvev 
peso. 450; and silver real, 34, maravedis. Hence the peso went for 
13 4-17 reals and the escudo for 11 13-17 reals. The escudo here 
mentioned was either a very small, or else a very debased one. In 
1596 the colonial practice of exacting the king's dues in full weighted 
coins and paying the public expenses with light ones is forbidden; a 
sign that the clipping of silver coins had been resorted to as a means 
of defeating the king's repeated enhancements of the value of gold. 

In 1603 the value of all billon and copper coins was doubled by 
decree in Spain. This decree brought about a virtual suspension of 
coin payments. The full weighted gold and silver coins were hurried 
out of the kingdom by every means that could be devised. The bil- 
lon coins fell to 70 in the hundred; in other words, silver coins bore 
a premium of 40 per cent. The greatest confusion ensued; and the 

' So it appears from the coinage law of 1579, cited in my Hist. Mon. Sys., London, 
ed., p. 450. But the language of the law is so vague that on p. 476, no alteration was 
mentioned in the ratio since the 13^ times of 1546. The ratio of 14.45, however, 
seems to be the more correct one. 



62 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Spanish-American viceroys, perhaps in order to make room for this 
debased coinage, closed their mints to that measure of individual 
coinage which was authorized by the decree of 1591. This closure of 
the mints was so hotly resented by the colonists that the Crown was 
at last forced to give way; and in 1608 was enacted that Decree, 
which, after it was given its full effect by the English law of 1666, at 
once altered all the monetary systems of the world. In 1608 the vice- 
roys of Spain were authorized to coin money for Individual Account 
and without any more specific limit than they might deem neces- 
sary. The Quinto and the derechos were still retained ; but under the 
British Act of 1666 all dues were abolished; and as it had now become 
comparatively easy to surreptitiously export silver bullion from 
Spanish America, the practical effect of the Spanish and English 
" free " coinage laws was to destroy the royal prerogative of coinage, 
elevate all bullion to coins and degrade all coins to bullion. The 
world-wide and mischievous effects of this legislation will receive 
abundant illustration as we proceed. 



63 



CHAPTER IX. 



THE DUTCH COLONIES. 



Tyranny of the Dutch colonial proprietors — The colonists are prohibited from 
coining their own money — Dutch monetary system — The colonists condemned to pro- 
duce, but forbidden to trade — Failure of the Dutch colonies in America. 

THE inhabitants of the Netherlands were always a liberty-loving 
people, and during the course of their long career, dating from 
the remote period when the Frisians were subjected to the galling 
exactions of their Roman conquerors, to the period when they threw 
off the yoke of Spanish tyranny, they offered to the world many 
proofs of this trait and made many sacrifices to achieve or maintain 
their freedom. But like the Pilgrim Fathers, who fled from intoler- 
ance in Europe to practice intolerance in America, the moment the 
Dutch settled in the new Continent they began to plant not trees of 
liberty but trees of feudalism and tyranny. The attitude of the pro- 
prietors towards the colonists was that of a master to his slaves, of 
a suzerain to his vassals. They imported titles of nobility, they es- 
tablished feudal manors on the Hudson and they compelled the set- 
tlers in a new and trackless country to employ a metallic monetary 
system which they themselves had rejected for the pasteboard dollars 
of Leyden. " Godt behoede Leyden " they had stamped on these 
symbols of their liberation in Holland. "God help the colonists" 
might with equal propriety been stamped on the coins which they 
ordered to be used in the Nieu Netherlands. 

The Dutch system of money in the 17th century consisted of 12 
copper ieschen, or eschen, to the silver stiver and 20 stivers to 
the silver ducaton or the gold guilder, a survival of the ^. s. d. 
system which the Romans had planted in the Netherlands 15 centu- 
ries before. However, it was not the numerical relations of the coins 
that proved inconvenient and vexatious to the colonists, but the fact 
that they could only be procured in Holland and were liable at any 
time to be withdrawn from the colony and transported again to Hol- 
land. This contingency which always threatened to take place and 
which frequently did take place, rendered trade precarious, prevented 



64 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

the development of credit and reduced the transactions of the colony 
to the smallest limits. In effect, the colonists were condemned to 
production and forbidden to trade. 

Hudson discovered the river that bears his name in 1609; the West 
India Company was organized in 162 1; and Stuyvesant surrendered 
to the British forces in 1664. The whole period of the Dutch in New 
York did not exceed 40 years. During this interval nothing whatever 
was done by the home government or the West India Company to 
place the colonists on their feet. They were expected to work and 
make profits for the company, that was all. Their own needs, their 
natural desire to increase, to become rich, numerous, powerful and 
free, these were matters which did not appear to concern the govern- 
ment of the United Provinces. 

Owing to this short-sighted policy the Dutch colonies in North 
America never prospered. There was scarcely a moment when they 
could be advantageously compared either in wealth or enterprise with 
the neighbouring colonies from England. The contrast between them 
is marked as strongly by their monetary systems as by any other in- 
dication. While the British colonists had the enterprise and the 
courage to set up their own mint in Boston and thus attempt to lib- 
erate their trade from the thraldom of a distant king's prerogative, 
the Hollanders in Nieu Amsterdam were content to regard the re- 
lation between commodities and beaver skins or blue and white wam- 
pum as a satisfactory basis of exchange. 



65 



CHAPTER X. 

COLONIAL MONEYS OF LOUISIANA. 

Parallel between Louisiana and the Philippines — Mischievous effects of imposing a 
national money upon a distant colony — Difference between barter and purchase-and- 
sale — Monetary principles deduced from one are inapplicable to the other — Barter rests 
upon cost, while price rests upon demand and supply — Both equity and trade demand 
that monetary systems shall be strictly national and regulated by national law — Popu- 
lation and trade of Louisiana — " Country Pay ' — The Mississippi Company — Its Bills 
of Credit — Their failure — Return to "country pay ' — Pasteboard notes of 1735 — 
Notes of 1747 — Counterfeits — Retirement of the issues — Cession of the province to 
Spain — To Great Britain — To the United States — Its undeveloped condition. 

DURING the 17th century certain Frenchmen, because they de- 
scended the Mississippi River in a canoe, laid claim on the 
part of France to the entire region drained by that river and its af- 
fluents; and after the name of their king, they called it Louisiana. 
This territory was greater than all the kingdoms of Europe put to- 
gether; so that the few hundred Frenchmen who were sent to garrison 
the forts on the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers, no more gov- 
erned it than the British and German garrisons at Hong Kong and 
Chao Kiou now govern the empire of China. To speak of the money 
of Louisiana is therefore to speak only of the money of the French 
forts and settlements. It did not express, as the British Colonial 
paper money did, the relations of value between the property, exer- 
tions and hopes of the colonists inter alia; it only expressed the rela- 
tions of value between the property, etc., of the Louisiana forts and 
settlements and that of France. 

If the American government of the recently acquired Philippines 
is to be no improvement upon the Spanish government of those islands, 
or the British government of the old North American colonies, then 
it were a waste of effort to point out the difference between autono- 
mous and international money, or the mischievous consequences that 
are bound to follow an attempt to govern 10,000,000 of one race of 
people with institutions belonging to another race of people, living 
10,000 miles across the sea. But if, as all philanthropists hope and 
many statesmen believe, the government of American Asia is to de- 



66 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

velope a new and more hopeful chapter in the history of empires, it is 
well worth while at the present juncture to press the finger down upon 
those pages of history which mark this difference in respect to the 
important institute of money. 

There exists at the present moment a numerous and influential 
class of business, men, rich and respectable, yet entirely ignorant of 
history, or of the principles derived from history, who never heard of the 
law of 1 8 Charles II., c. 5, and are wholly unaware of the fact that 
the principles of money laid down in British economical works are all 
of them derived from that law and would cease to exist the moment that 
that law was repealed. Some of these business men even presume to 
teach legislators what they should enact in respect of money, and are 
working with suspicious zeal to establish what they pretend to sup- 
pose would be an international money. Well, there is no international 
money and there can never be one, any more than there can be an 
international jus gentium, or domestic law; for the law of money is 
a part, an important part, of the domestic law. It relates not to trans- 
actions between nations but between individuals and requires a na- 
tional power behind it to enforce its observance. 

The British law of 1666 permitted metallic money to be melted 
down to bullion or exported to foreign countries by private individ- 
uals. It also enabled the same bullion, or indeed any bullion, to be 
imported by private individuals and then ordered it to be coined by 
the government, free of charge, for account of such private individ- 
uals whenever and in such amounts as they required. At that period 
there was no other money except metallic money. The law of 1666 
therefore surrendered the State prerogative of money into private 
hands; it nullified the decision of 1604 in the Mixt Moneys case; it 
enabled the merchants of London — many of whom at that time were 
shareholders in the East India Company — to increase or diminish 
the stock of money in the kingdom and so to raise or lower prices, 
at pleasure. ' Whenever they desired to raise them, they had only 
to deposit their bullion at the mint for coinage and, when coined, to 
loan it out freely, which they took care to do only upon ample se- 
curity. For this purpose they shortly afterwards organized the Bank 

' " It is dangerous to the peace of the kingdom when it shall be in the power of 
half-a-dozen or half-a-score of rich, discontented, or factious persons to make a bank 
(an accumulation) of our own coin and bullion beyond the seas and leave us in want 
of money when it shall not (no longer) be in the king's power to prevent it." Speech 
of the Earl of Anglesey on the Bill of 1663, (the first of the series which culminated in 
1666,) permitting the export of coins from the kingdoms. Cobbett Pari. Hist., iv, 283. 



COLONIAL MONEYS OK LOUISIANA. 67 

of England. Whenever they desired to lower prices, they had only 
to call in their loans and sell their coins as bullion, either for plate 
or for export. By these reprehensible means, and until relief ap- 
peared in the form of joint-stock banks and paper notes, they reduced 
all exchange to barter; and it is from the principles of barter, and 
not from those of purchase-and-sale, that the economists of the fol- 
lowing century distilled the ignorant, or else one-sided, opinions 
which now guide so many of the commercial and banking fraternity 
in England and America. 

Barter is a condition of traffic that distinguishes a barbarous or 
semi-barbarous community. It consists of exchanging one thing for 
one other thing, out of hand. It is not related to the past, it is not 
related to the future, it has nothing to do with hopes, expectations 
or credit ; it relates only to the present time ; only to tangible things ; 
only to things of which immediate possession can be had ; it takes no 
heed of the value of like things elsewhere or at different times; it 
does not express the value of a thing as compared with all other things 
within reach, whether present or prospective, but only its value at 
the moment of exchange and as compared with the one thing for 
which it is actually exchanged. The basis of valuation in barter is 
cost of production; and it is this principle, which though true as to 
barter is false as to purchase-and-sale, which the economists have 
applied to money and which the banking fraternity have found it 
profitable to adopt as the foundation of their claims, arguments and 
pretensions in relation to money. 

Purchase-and-sale is a totally different kind of transaction. It is 
that condition of traffic which belongs to a community in the highest 
stage of social development. It consists not in exchanging one thing 
for one other thing, but one thing for any other thing, at pleasure of 
the seller. The medium of this operation is money; and money can 
only perform it equitably when its stability of value is anchored in 
the law and not in the vagaries or avidity of bankers. As the sta- 
bility of money relates both to past, present and future, so does pur- 
chase-and-sale; and as stable money is a measure which inspires 
confidence and stimulates exertions which relate to the future, it be- 
comes a basis of credit, of hopes, expectations and arrangements, 
often extending far into the future; for example, a 999-year lease, or 
an interminable loan. Purchase-and-sale may relate to the most in- 
tangible things, as copyright, patent-right, trade-mark, a right of 
action, a pension, a marriage-settlement, etc. In all cases of pur- 
chase-and-sale the value of the thing purchased is compared in the 



68 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

mind with tlie value of like things and of other things elsewhere and 
at other times, both past and prospective. The mind of the buyer 
becomes a market in which every conceivable thing is offered for 
sale to him and in which that thing is selected by him which most 
suits his needs, means, taste, interest, or caprice. The basis of valu- 
ation in this extensive market is demand and supply. The buyer 
does not know, nor does he care, what the thing costs which he buys; 
the seller does not know, nor does he care, what the money cost for 
which he sells his services, goods, or rights. Plentifulness means 
low prices, scarcity means high prices; and this principle relates as 
well to money as to the things for which money is exchanged. 

The bewildering consequences of a mode -of valuation which in- 
volves the consideration of the demand and supply of everything are 
vastly reduced by the operation of law. In the first place, only those 
things need be considered of which legal possession can be enforced 
by the courts. This substantially limits the market to the national 
territory. In the second place, only those things need to be consid- 
ered of which possession can be acquired at the time and place where 
they are wanted. Even did not equity require that the measure of 
value should, like other measures, be limited in volume, these limi- 
tations upon the number and variety of things which valuation by 
means of money compels the mind to hold in view simultaneously, 
call for a corresponding limitation with respect to the volume or sup- 
ply of money. That, too, has to be subjected to the restraint of na- 
tional regulation; otherwise the entire network of valuations, which 
means the entire social order, might be rendered a prey to foreign 
laws, combinations and conspiracies. "^ 

At the time when Louisiana first had a population sufficiently nu- 
merous to entitle her monetary affairs to consideration, namely, in 
1720, the British North American colonies had a population of over 
a million and an extensive trade on the Atlantic seaboard and with 
the West India islands. This trade demanded a supply of money, 
not "international money," subject to be withdrawn by the mother 
country or by foreigners, or melted down to plate or fashioned into 
jewellery ; but a stable volume of money, to remain in the colonies and 
equitably measure value; in other words, to fix prices with more or 
less constancy and thus to form the basis of colonial trade, produc- 
tion and credit. Failing to obtain such a money from the mother 
country, the colonists set up a mint of their own ; and when, contrary 

* I trust that the accomplished author of " A Colloquy on Currency" will read this 
paragraph very carefully. 









COLONIAL MONEYS OF LOUISIANA. 69a 

to their expectations, the issues of this mint flowed out of the colo- 
nies and defeated their object, they established a paper system. This 
nominally began in 1690, but substantially, not until after the begin- 
ning of the i8th century. In the course of a single generation this 
system, though in many respects defective, built these colonies up 
into a nation, strong, self-reliant and possessed of such vast resources 
that prudent and generous management on the part of the Crown 
would have rendered them the chief reliance of British commerce^ 
wealth and power. 

But the narrow-minded and selfish London merchants and bankers, 
who influenced the government at this period, would not permit the 
colonies to have their own monetary system; they must accept such 
" national" coins as the London merchants choosed to lend them; 
as though there was anything "national" about coins which were 
manufactsred at their own (the merchants') private behest and could 
be withdrawn, melted or exported at their own pleasure. Accord- 
ingly orders were sent to America to put down the Colonial money 
and enforce the falsely-named "national," but really private money. 
As shown in another chapter of this work, it was the enforcement of 
this policy that brought on the Revolution and the loss to Great 
Britain of an empire which has since become the richest in the world. 

The American Republic is now itself becoming a mother of states, 
and a possessor of colonies. Cuba and Puerto Rico are too near and 
their population is too small to render it necessary (at all events at 
present) to consider their need of a separate monetary system, But 
the case is different with the Philippines. They are both distant and 
populous; and they stand in the very channel of that envied Asiatic 
trade which has ever been a source of contention between the rival 
states of the Occident. The local inter-insular trade of the Philippines 
is alone important; and with a suitable currency, wholly disconnected 
with the American monetary system, it is susceptible of enormous 
extension. Out of this local trade would naturally flow a vast and 
lucrative commerce with the United States. But if the American 
monetary system is forced upon these islands, as the merchants of 
London forced theirs upon the North American Colonies, the result 
will either be what the result has been with Spain, a mere nominal 
control of the islands, subject to foreign interference and seizure at 
any time, or else what it was with British America century ago: 
namely, the revolt of the colonists and overthrow of the colonial 
government. 

If it be asked why the Philippines cannot prosper with the Ameri- 



7© HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

can (or any other distant) monetary system, the answer is this: the 
tendency of money is always to flow towards the place where it cir- 
culates most rapidly, where it is used and re-used most frequently, 
where it can be loaned most readily. If the Philipines are compelled 
to accept the American monetary system, the inevitable consequence 
will be that the money, whether of gold, silver or paper, will flow to 
Chicago, New York, Boston and Philadelphia; and there remain. 
Such is the case at present with respect to the money of the Southern 
and Western States of the Union. Its tendency is to flow to the 
Eastern cities and there remain. But these states are not within the 
sphere of foreign influence; they can therefore only suffer, protest and 
agitate for reform. With the Philippines it is different. When they 
find themselves, as they will be sure to do, bereft of a sufficient cir- 
culating medium, when they find that their coins have gone to the 
United States, they will demand a local mint ; when experiences proves, 
as it has proved in Australia, that a local mint will fail to prevent the 
flow of coins to the commercial centres of the mother country, they 
will demand local banks of issue; and when this expedient fails, as 
fail it certainly will, they will seek the aid of foreign powers to lib- 
erate them from a thraldom which shifts their commerce to a dis- 
tant bourse and condemns them to industrial and commercial inertia. 
From this digression we return to Louisiana. The first permanent 
settlement was made in 1699. In 1708 the French and Colonial pop- 
ulation only numbered 279; in 1712, 520; in 1721, 5,420; in 1724, 
5,000; in 1731, 7,540 and in 1770, 13,538 persons ^ Until Crozat pur- 
chased the territory — this was in 1712 — the media of exchange in 
Louisiana consisted of maize, tobacco, rice, etc. ; in a word "coun- 
try pay" measured in French money and supplemented by a few 
French coins. During the Crozat administration, which continued 
until 1 717, the media of exchange remained the same, except that the 
proportion of coins was greater. From 1717, when the Mississippi 
Company assumed the government of the Colony, until 1731, when 
such control was relinquished, the money of the Colony consisted 
mainly of the Bills of Credit issued by the Company, printed in France 
and countersigned in Louisiana. These were supplemented by billon 
and copper coins, whose contents of metal and legal valuation were 
frequently changed by royal ordinance. Finally, there was a small 
amount of Spanish silver dollars and gold pistoles in circulation, 
whose value, as measured either in French coins or in the Bills of the 
Company, frequently and greatly varied. 

^Gayarre's Hist. Louisiana, i, 99, 115, 273-4, 351-2, 366, 454. 



COLONIAL MONEYS OF LOUISIANA. 7I 

In 1722, owing to the failure of the Mississippi Company in France, 
the Bills of Credit received a fatal blow; and although they contin- 
ued for some time afterward to perform the functions of money in 
Louisiana, such functions became gradually impaired until the colo- 
nists would receive them no longer; and coins, both French and 
Spanish, usurped their place in the circulation. But, as the supply of 
such coins was not subject to the colonial authorities, there was no 
stability in the monetary measure; credit was destroyed, trade lan- 
guished and production halted at the line of immediate and local 
demand. 

In 1735 an effort was made to relieve the Colony of these depress- 
ing circumstances by issuing certain local bills of credit printed on 
pasteboard, but as these issues were not authorized by the colonial 
government, nor receivable for taxes, they lacked credit and com- 
manded only a very limited circulation. 

In 1747 another issue was made of somewhat similar character, 
this time under authority of the local government, but without the 
sanction and indeed in opposition to the very decided policy of the 
Crown and therefore not receivable for taxes. In 1750 this issue was 
largely counterfeited, when it rapidly lost credit and ceased to cir- 
culate.* 

In 1762 Spain acquired the province by secret treaty with France, 
though full possession was not taken until 1769. Meanwhile in 1763 
all of the province east of the Mississippi river, south to the 31st 
parallel, was ceded to Great Britain, and in 1 783 it fell to the United 
States. The western and southern territory remained in possession 
of Spain until 1800, when it was ceded to France, who in 1803 sold 
it to the United States. During this interval of oft-changed masters, 
the trade of this magnificent empire, chiefly from the lack of an au- 
tonomous money, remained undeveloped. The great river stretched 
its arms to the remotest extremities of the Continent, irrigating its 
untilled valleys and offering its mighty waters to the service of in- 
dustry ; but no advantage was taken of this vast bounty of nature. 
The inhabitants sat in theirbungalows and said to each other: "Let 
us wait until the goldsmiths of Paris send out some of their coins 
with the king's head stamped upon them. These coins will connect 
us with beloved France. The owners of the coins will fix a price upon 
our corn, sugar and tobacco, at which it will be profitable for them 
to purchase these products, and transport them to France for sale. 

*Gayarre, II, 21, 51-3, 160. There is reason to suspect that the royal officials were 
not over zealous in detecting and punishing the forgers. 



72 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Even should such price fail to prove remunerative we ought yet to 
continue to produce corn, sugar and tobacco; incidentally we can 
go out and amuse ourselves by shooting Indians. In any case we 
shall have to live in indigence. It is the Planter's Burden and we 
must carry it as best we may ! " > 

No people need assume a Burden which is not of their own making. 
The planters of Louisiana were not obliged to wait upon the gam- 
blers of the Rue Quincampoix, nor submit to their monetary control. 
The Colonists had the power, as certainly they had the right, to throw 
it off, by creating their own monetary system. This is what the 
British Colonists did and this is what the French Colonists should 
have done. There was plenty of room and abundant opportunity to 
set up a Mint in the Mississippi Valley ; and had one been established 
there it would, beyond a doubt, have been amply supplied with coin- 
ing metal by the Spaniards of Mexico and the buccaneers of the 
West Indies. But the spirit was lacking and it has hardly yet be- 
come aroused. A century ago the people of the Mississippi Valley 
were content to be led by the bankers of Paris. To-day, they are 
hardly less content to be led by the bankers of London. They never 
had the daring of that Hampden who refused to pay an unjust tax, 
nor of that Hull who courageously set up his little mint in Boston and 
defied the royal authority by striking American coins for an American 
people. But their patience is becoming exhausted. The recent com- 
mercial conventions of the Mississippi and Trans-Mississippi have 
unmistakably demanded that the Federal government shall under- 
take the entire control of the American monetary system, and sooner 
or later the people of the North and East must, in their own interest, 
second this eminently just demand. The Buffalo Conference has 
.already led the way. It is for Chicago and New York to follow. 



73 



CHAPTER XI. 

BRITISH COLONIAL MONEYS. 

Idealism of the Colonists — Yearnings for Freedom and Justice — Ignorance of 
Monetary Laws and History — Pine Tree Money — Contest Between British Capital 
and American Labor — Efforts of the Royal Authorities to repress the Tree Money — 
Drain of Silver to England — Country Pay, or Barter — Colonial Bills of Credit — 
Counterfeits — Efforts of the Royal Authorities to repress the Colonial Bills — The 
Colonists demur — Private Bank Notes — Contraction — Old, Middle and New Tenors — 
The Crime of 1742 — Severe Contraction — Popular distress — Symptoms of Revolt — 
Interest-Bearing Certificates — Efforts of the Royal Authorities to repress them— 
Victory of the Colonists — The Revolution. 

MANY histories have been published of what the British Colonies 
did and at least one history has been written of what the 
people did^ but as yet not one of what the people thought; yet this 
is the most important of all, for the British Colonies were settled 
during the Halcyon Age of England, and this was pre-eminently an 
age of new ideas, inventions, discoveries and projects. 

"This was the age of Sir Thomas More's 'Utopia,' 1516; of 
Bodin's 'Republic,' 1577; of Raleigh's Roanoke colony, 1585; of 
Hall's ' Crapulia,' 1600; of Campanella's 'City of the Sun,' 1625; of 
Bacon's 'New Atlantis,' 1625; of Harrington's republic of 'Oceana,' 
1657; and of Locke's experimental government in Carolina. Not 
only did poets and philosophers dream, and statesmen plan reforms 
of government, the commercial classes demanded them, and the 
people struck for them. An insurrection occurred in Castile, 1520, 
and a popular Junta was established, 1522; a popular insurrection 
against devoting agricultural lands to pasture, took place in England 
under Ket and Flowerdew in 1549; a republic was declared in Hol- 
land, 1572; the peasantry rose in Austria, 1626; a republic was 
established in England, 1645 ; and the barricades of the Fronde were 
erected in Paris, 1648." 

These literary and revolutionary works tore away the restraints 
that had confined European thought for twenty centuries, and reverted 
to the freedom of the Greek and Roman republics. Judge Chamberlain, 
in a clever review of McMaster's " History of the American People," 



74 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

has wondered whence Jefferson got his idealism; and he fancies it 
may have come from Rousseau and the French writers of the i8th 
century. He will find much of it in the authors of that great aera 
which preceded and gave birth to the French encyclopedists. 

The British Colonists brought few books with them. Among tf ose 
were the Bible, the book of Common Prayer, the writings of Cicero 
and the works of Aristotle. I remember very distinctly of being 
informed by one of my grandparents, who was a Southerner and a 
contemporary of Jefferson, that the philosophy of Aristotle was read 
and taught in the Colonial schools. Much of what was taught was 
doubtless lost, but in some minds the seed must have germinated. 
Here was a fount of idealism as pure and deep as any that man has 
ever plumbed; and at the very bottom of it, deeper and more pro- 
found than any idealism of the Renaissance, will be discerned this 
greatest of all generalizations on the subject of money. "There 
would be no society if there were no exchange and no exchange if 
there were no money." 

If it be doubted that the Anglo-American Colonists were governed 
in their political arrangements by ideas so ancient as those of 
Aristotle, it will scarcely be contended that they were ignorant or 
heedless of the ideas which governed the great Mixt Money Case 
decided by the Privy Council in 1604: " Money is a public measure 
(mensura publica) intended to obviate the inconvenience and iniquity 
of Barter. There can be no society without exchanges, no system 
of exchanges without equity and no equity of exchanges without 
money. " These are the ideas, nay almost the very words of Aristotle ; 
indeed the decision cites by name both Aristotle and Bodin. This 
decision was especially applicable to the Colonies; and its principles 
must have formed part of the education of every lawyer, jurist and 
statesman in America. 

We shall find as we proceed that these principles had more to do 
with the relations between England and her Colonies than any other 
ideas which influenced them. The whole story of the rebellious 
Colonies is a story which relates more to monetary contentions and 
principles than to any other subject. The English of that period, like 
the English of to-day, were a people comparatively destitute of 
idealism; and it required, as it still requires, a prodigious effort to 
goad into action their eminently sound but pre-eminently conserva- 
tive minds. After a century of unexampled prosperity and brilliant 
progress in England, due, as has been shown in another work, to the 
stimulus afforded by the influx and coinage of silver from Spanish 



BRITISH COLONIAL MONEYS. 75 

America, the English rarliament was so stupid or criminal as to pass 
the East India Company's Mint Bill in 1666 and thus permit the 
country to be drained of its Measure of Value by a band of adven- 
turers. Some of the disastrous consequences that ensued have been 
eloquently described by Macauley; but nobody thought of repealing 
the Act and nobody thinks of it yet; the profits of the Bank of 
England and other banks of issue standing in the way. It was in 
the midst of the first drainage of silver to the Orient, when the 
coins of England were clipped and sweated to two-thirds or one-half 
their original weight, that the American Colonies were first brought 
face to face with the great subject of Monetary Law. It need hardly 
be said that this was a subject concerning which they were profoundly 
ignorant. 

Th e ^arly tra de of the C olonies_Jiad_b-eeii ejEEected i)y barter^ hut 
by the last quarter of the^iyth ce nt ury the populat ion h ad grown 
too numerous, widespread and differentiated in occupation to render 
such an archaic system of exchange any longer practicable. 

So early as 1652 (October 19) the province of Massachusetts found 
it necessary — for it was no mere act of wantonness or of profit-seek- 
ing by the colony — to defy the Royal authority by erecting a Mint 
and striking Pine Tree shillings. These were to contain SSy^ gr. 
fine silver, the same as the actual circulating clipped shilling of 
England, though not the same as the theoretical or minted shilling 
of the Commonwealth, which should have contained about 85^ gr. 
fine. 

From this moment began in America a contest between Barter and 
Exchange, between Capital and Blood, between the Plunder of the 
Seas and the Credit of the Colonies, between the Metallic product 
of slavery and the Fiduciary issues of a free people, that has not yet 
ended and that never will end until the principles which Aristotle 
distilled from the republics of antiquity have again asserted their 
vitality in the halls of legislation. These principles were revived in 
the Mixt Moneys case in 1604. They were affirmed by Bastiat in 
1840: " Exchange is political economy; it is society itself, for it is 
impossible to conceive of society as existing without exchange, or 
exchange without society." They were again affirmed by Destutt 
Tracy in 1870: " Societyjs in fact held together -byarseries of ex- 
changes." And they will be again and again affirmed until they are 
nailed inseparably to the Constitution of every free State in Chris- 
tendom. "Exchange is a social act; money is a social mechanism; 
it is a public measure of value, the unit of which is not one coin, 



76 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA, 

nor one note, but all the coins and notes of like currency under the 
law of each nation when added together; money to be equitable 
must be of stable volume; stability can only be secured by national 
authority and limitation; if you want prosperity you must trust the 
national government to conserve the Measure of Value; if you fear 
to trust the government, you may indeed preserve the size of the 
coin in your pocket, but you cannot secure the profits it may earn 
for you; and persistence in this course will force ruin upon others 
and probably upon yourself. 

During the interval between the first issues of Pine Tree money 
and the Revolution, these principles were brought home over and 
over again to the Tory classes in America, but without avail. The 
Tories affected entire disbelief in the Quantitative Theory of metallic 
money, yet they always wanted the quantity of metallic money re- 
duced; they derided paper money when it was issued by the Colony, 
but vaunted it when issued by themselves. Because they could buy 
the votes of certain individuals they mistrusted the body politic. 
This was a grave mistake; for the body politic taken collectively is 
a totally different entity from the individuals of which it may be 
composed. It acts upon entirely different principles; and so does 
Money. 

The Pine Tree coins were at first of the denomination of 12, 6 and 
3 pence, and in 1662 also of 2 pence. All except the 2 oence pieces 
are dated 1652, although they were continued to be coined every 
year until 1686, about which time paper money began to be thought 
of. The shilling was ordered to contain 72 grains of standard silver, 
(0.925 fine) or 667^ grains of fine silver. The extant coins in the 
best preservation contain about 60^ grains fine; that is to say, about 
three-fourths as much fine silver as the newly minted Royal shilling 
of the same period; and at this valuation they were made legal 
tender by colonial law and readily passed current. The seigniorage 
on the Royal coins was 2 shillings in 60 shillings, or about 3^ per 
cent. ; on the Colonial coins it was i shilling in 20 shillings, or 5 per 
cent, ad valorem; so that in fact the Crown manufactured coins at a 
cheaper rate than did John Hull. 

From the moment of the authorization of Hull's mint by the 
Colonial Legislature, an event which dates from the period of the 
Commonwealth in England, to that of its suppression, which was 
achieved during the reign of William and Mary, an incessant warfare 
was waged, now by the colonial Tories and then by the Royalists in 
England, against American money. Its coinage defied the Royal 



BRITISH rOLONIAL MONEYS. 77 

prerogative; it was the money of treason; it was coined from pirat- 
ical plunder; it was dishonest money; it lowered the Royal standard; 
it inflated the currency; Hull's charge for coinage was exhorbitant, 
etc. Much of this was true; yet except the first one or two, these 
charges were equally true of the British shilling of that day. That 
also was struck from plundered metal; it was therefore dishonest; it 
had been recently degraded; and was even clipped and sweated. 
Worse still were the tin coins struck for the American Colonies by 
James II., 16S5-88, of which 192 were ordered to pass for a Spanish 
peso, or 24 to the real de plata. But in those days there was a great 
difference between my ox and yours. 

The contest over the Pine Tree money was afterwards merged 
into a greater contest over the Colonial Bills of Credit which arose 
after and by reason of its suppression. This will receive some fur- 
ther notice when that later usurpation of the Royal prerogative comes 
to be mentioned. 

The Colonial mint (or mints, for I fancy there was another, though 
a smaller one, in Maryland) was an open one; that is to say, it coined, 
or professed itself willing to coin, all bullion offered to it for that 
purpose. Such coins were declared to be legal tender by the Colo- 
nial assembly. As the mint did not coin gratuitously, it might be 
supposed that the seigniorage was enough to keep the coins from 
being melted or exported. But such was not the case; for although 
several hundred thousand, perhaps a million or more pounds sterling 
worth of Pine Tree money was struck from first to last by John Hull, 
it was all or nearly all exported; and very little of it remained at any 
time in circulation. One reason for this was that until 1666 the 
Royal mint also charged a seigniorage; and a second reason was that 
the West Indian buccaneers, who were the largest depositors at the 
Boston mint, wanted their remittances promptly returned to them in 
coins. The result was that the Pine Tree money flowed out of the 
country almost as soon as it was coined. Much of it was subsequently 
melted in the mints of Europe. 

For these reasons so few coins of any kind remained in circulation 
during the Pine Tree money emissions that this period may more fitly 
be embraced in a longer one, 1632-92, during which the principal me- 
dium of exchange was obliged to be "country pay," that is to say, 
merchandise at prices fixed from time to time by Colonial laws. 

To enter into details of this wretched system of barter would 
neither conform to our present limits of space, nor serve any other 
useful purpose than to corroborate by tedious evidence, the truth of 



jS HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

the principles herein advanced by generahty. Suffice it to say that 
the result of being obliged to employ "country pay" was to cramp 
the trade of the Colonies into the smallest limits and to render im- 
possible any progress of the people beyond the phase of hard manual 
labor, variegated by neighborly "swaps." Commerce with dirtant 
persons or markets was impracticable; transportation was undevel- 
oped; credit was unknown; the marts and the profits of American 
trade were transferred to London and there they remained. 

"They give the title of 'merchant' to every trader, who rates 
his goods according to the time and species they pay in ; viz. , ' pay ' ; 
'money'; 'pay-as-money '; and 'trusting.' Pay is grain, pork and 
beef, etc., at the prices set by the General Court. Money is pieces- 
of-eight, ryals, Boston or Bay shillings, or 'good hard money,' as 
sometimes silver coin is called; also wampum, viz., Indian beads, 
which serve as change. Pay-as-money is provision aforesaid, one- 
third cheaper than the Assembly set it; and Trust, as they agree for at 
the time. When the buyer comes to ask for a commodity, sometimes 
before the merchant answers that he has it, he says, 'is your pay 
ready?' Perhaps the chap replies, 'yes.' 'What do you pay in? ' 
says the merchant. The buyer having answered, then the price is 
set; as suppose he wants a 6d. knife, in ' pay ' it is i2d. ; in ' pay-as- 
money ' 8d., and 'hard-money,' its own value, 6d. It seems a very 
intricate way of trade, and what the Lex Mercatoria had not thought 
of. " Journal of Mrs. Knight, New Haven, A. D. 1704. 

But beneath this enforced archaism there were ideas; and in the 
inventive minds of the Americans these soon took form. The leather 
moneys of mediaeval Europe were probably unknown to the Colonists ; 
even the paper issues of Milan and Genoa may have been unheard 
of, or but dimly understood; but such could hardly have been the 
case with the leather and paper moneys of San Domingo issued about 
the year 1638, the Swedish "Transport Notes" of 1658, or the 
notes issued by Cromwell at about the same time. At all events a 
Land Bank was organized in South Carolina which issued "convert- 
ible " notes upon the security of estates, somewhere about the year 
1675. The example was eagerly followed in Boston, where in 1686 
John Blackwell and six other persons, one or more of whom were 
from London, established a Land Bank and issued their private notes 
"payable" in coins and "secured " by land. Either the "security" 
of these notes proved to be inadequate or doubtful, or else some 
other circumstance affected their credit; the fact is that the notes 
failed to become acceptable to the public and soon ceased to circu- 



BRITISH COLONIAL MONEYS. 79 

late as money. Whether they were paid off or repudiated does not 
appear. 

Soon after this abortive attempt to introduce private promissory 
notes into the circulation, the Colony of Massachusetts resolved to 
relieve "the scarcity of money and the want of an adequate measure 
of commerce" by issuing its own Bills of Credit to the modest ex- 
tent of ;^7,ooo. This was done in February, 1690, the notes bearing 
the following legend; 
"No. (916) 20s. 

This indented Bill of Twenty Shillings due from the Massachusetts 

Colony to the Possessor shall be in value equal to money, and shall 

be accordingly accepted by the Treasurer and Receivers subordinate 

to him, in all payments and for any stock at any time in the Treasury, 

Boston, in New England, February the third, 1690. By order of the 

General Court. 

Elisha Hutchinson, ) 
[l. s.] John Walley, V Comitee. " 

Tim Thornton, 1 

It was afterwards repeatedly alleged that this was a "war issue" 
to pay off the soldiers in the Phips expedition to Quebec, and there- 
fore it was but just and proper to retire it as soon as practicable. 
Without entering into this sort of reasoning, because it is a non 
sequitur, the fact is that the issue of notes was made not only before 
the Phips soldiers demanded to be paid, but before the expedition 
sailed and indeed before it was planned. The notes were issued 
early in February, 1690; the expedition to Quebec was not resolved 
upon until May ist; it sailed August 9th, landed and was defeated 
October 8th, re-embarked October nth and arrived in New England 
November 19th. The soldiers' demand for pay was fully a year later 
than the date when the Bills of Credit were authorized to be issued. 

In 1691 a further issue was made of Colonial Bills of Credit and 
in these notes some of the defeated heroes of Quebec were doubt- 
less paid off, a circumstance which, however, has nothing to do with 
the question of their origin or justification. 

It will be observed that the Bills were not money; but merely 
promises to pay money; in other words, they were not legal tender; 
nobody was obliged to accept them outside the Colonial Treasury. 
All this was changed after the new Charter of 1692 became effective. 
The provincial government then, July 2, 1692, made the notes, now 
amountingto ;,{^3o,oooor ;^4o, 000 full legal tenders, except in special 
contracts. Under these circumstances they circulated at par with 



8o HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

silver coins (the parity being 8 shillings per "ounce" of standard 
silver coins) until 17 12, a period of twenty years, during which time 
the population of the Colony more than doubled and the trade in- 
creased enormously. 

By the year 1712a large increase in the issue of these notes ^nd 
the admission of other elements into the currency, both foreign and 
Colonial, metallic and paper, occasioned the depreciation of the 
notes and clipping of the coins to the extent of about one-eighth. 
Counterfeit notes of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut 
and Rhode Island also swelled the total. 

In 1 7 14 the Colony of Massachusetts made a new and further 
issue of provincial notes commencing with ;^5o,ooo which was soon 
increased to ;^i25,ooo. A private bank of issue based upon landed 
assets was also authorized between 17 14 and 1720. In 1692 the 
population was about 47,000, the note circulation ;^3o,ooo, and 
silver coin 6 shillings lo^d. in paper notes per "ounce." In 
1728 the population was about 115,000, the note circulation ^400,000, 
and silver coin 16 shillings per ounce. These excessive issues and the 
bursting of the Mississippi Bubble in France now led the government 
of England to interfere. It commenced in 1727 that series of re- 
pressive measures which furnished the first distinctive provocation to 
the American Revolution. 

These measures were not undertaken so much with the view of 
reforming the currency of the Colonies as of enforcing the preroga- 
tive of the king, which would have been right enough in England 
but wholly indefensible when applied to a distant colony. However, 
this object was sought to be accomplished by means alike offensive 
and oppressive. The Colonial governors were ordered to sign no 
more laws authorizing Bills of Credit; the outstanding Bills of Credit 
were ordered to be withdrawn; the taxes were ordered to be paid in 
coins; in short, without a single extenuating reason, the British 
ministry followed in America precisely the same steps that after the 
downfall of John Law were pursued with such fatal results by Louis 
XV. of France. When in 1727 Gov. Dummer refused to sign an 
authorization for ;^5o,ooo of new bills to help pay off ;^ioo,ooo of 
old bills, the House of Assembly declared that they considered 
THEIR LIBERTIES THREATENED. The Govcrnor's reply to this note 
of alarm was to force the House in 1728 to further contract the 
currency. 

In 1730, Gov. Belcher was appointed by the Crown with impera- 
tive orders to go on with the contraction until the note currency was 



BRITISH COLONIAL MONEYS. 8l 

reduced to ^30,000. The Colonial Assembly again and again peti- 
tioned the Crown to revoke this ruinous order, but without avail. 
The method of contraction rendered it still more objectionable. The 
notes were not retired by paying for them with a surplus of coin in 
the Treasury, for there was no such surplus. They were to be paid 
off from the proceeds of new and additional taxation. On top of all 
this was another grievance; the void in the circulation was to be 
partly filled by the notes of private banks, which were authorized to 
be established upon a "silver basis " by the favorites or dependents 
of the English governor, such notes having no legal tender quality. 
In 1737 the provincial notes had been reduced to not much over the 
^30,000 limit, and the private bank issues were about ^110,000; 
while the other elements of the currency hardly brought the whole 
to much more than half of what it had been before contraction began. 
In 1735, ^^^ worst period of contraction, money was so scarce that 
the inhabitants could not, even when threatened with a forced sale 
of their goods, pay their taxes, except in commodities; and the gov- 
ernor reluctantly accepting the situation, agreed to receive the taxes 
in hemp, flax and bar-iron. It reminds one of the ox-hides exacted 
by the Roman governor from the Frisians sixteen hundred years 
previously.* The discretion with which such a system necessarily 
armed the collecting officials must have afforded the latter opportu- 
nities for exercising the most galling oppression. 

We have no space for entering upon the intricacies of Old, Middle 
and New Tenor bills, nor for considering the influence of the Mer- 
chants' Bank notes, nor of the municipal notes of this aeraf upon 
the circulation; it is far more important to trace the Equity or De- 
monetization Act that, in 1742 Gov. Shirley tricked the Colonial As- 
sembly into passing. 

This Act contained a clause which read: "If they (the Colonial 
Bills of Credit) depreciate, allowance shall be made accordingly,'' a 
clause whose significance seems to have escaped the attention of the 
Assembly. Its practical effect was to demonetize the Colonial bills 
and make all contracts payable in standard silver coins at 6s. 8d. per 
ounce, or in so much paper money as would purchase this quantity 
of silver coins at the time that payment was made. Nothing could 
have been more iniquitous. 

* See " History Monetary Systems," ch. V. 

■j- I have seen a circulating note dated Ipswich, Massachusetts, May i, 1741, for 
some small amount, in possession of my friend Mr. L. L. Kobinson, of San Fran- 
cisco. 



82 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Shirley's next move was to induce the new "Land Bank " to retire 
its issues, amounting to ^40,000. Similar pressure caused the 
"Silver" banks to retire their notes, amounting to ;;^i2o,ooo. As 
this process went on, the grip upon the people gradually tightened; 
and from this they sought relief by according "free course," or r.ur- 
rency, to the Provincial Bills of the contiguous Colonies, But here 
again they were defeated by the governor's untiring zeal and energy 
in the cause of contraction. Under the threat of losing their Char- 
ter, he induced them, partly in 1744 and partly in 1746, to relinquish 
this last resource. The results that followed were most distressing. 
Prices fell, trade became stagnant, securities depreciated and loans 
were recalled; debtors were sold out by the sheriff; "many good 
families were brought to poverty"; and cries of distress arose on all 
sides. The governor was petitioned to repeal the misnamed " Equity 
Bill," but he refused; the representatives appealed to Parliament, 
but met with no relief. The fiat had gone forth; the king's preroga- 
tive of the coinage, though surrendered in England to the East India 
Company was to be maintained in the Colonies; the latter were to 
have no monetary system of their own; and, under the operation of 
the British Act of 1666, the goldsmiths of London and their newly 
fledged and already embarrassed Bank of England, were to rule the 
situation.* 

What is expansion? It is forcing into circulation an unusually 
large volume of money, or else exposing it to be so inflated. What 
is contraction? It is reducing the volume of money, or exposing it 
to be reduced below the customary amount in circulation. The 
swollen measure of value is quite as unjust as the shrunken measure. 
There is no necessity for either; but so long as a nation neglects to 
regulate by law the volume of its currency, its people will always 
live in danger of one or the other of these inequitable measures of 
value, the swollen one or the shrunken one. After such an unjusti- 
fiable expansion as had been caused by the provincial bills of credit, 
it did not appear to be at all inequitable to pay off the bills in coins 
and return to coin payments; for everybody assumed that the coins 
would remain in the Colony and supply the place of the bills. But 
such was not the case. The Colony was in debt both to the subjects 
and the government of the mother country; and as fast as the coins 
entered the circulation as a measure of value in Massachusetts, they 
were shipped to London as a commodity to meet the bills of exchange 

* The Bank of England has failed several times, the first failure having occurred 
in 1696. 



15KITTSH COLONIAL MONEYS. 83 

drawn by the depositors of the bullion and eventually to feed the 
open mint in the Tower. The Resumption Act, approved by the 
king, June 28, 1749, was therefore not a mere contraction; it was a 
terrible calamity. 

The Act was followed by a sop to Cerberus, in the shape of a 
shipment from London of 653,000 ounces of silver and 10 tons of 
copper coins, due to the Colonial government, for the expenses of 
the Phips expedition. The Colonial government nevertheless was 
ordered to pay these coins out only to redeem its own Bills of 
Credit and at a discount prices, and to demand payment in coins for 
taxes and dues at par. This operation was commenced in 1750. By 
itself it would seem both fair and harmless, but in connection with 
Shirley's surreptitious demonetization of the Colonial bills, previously 
mentioned, it converted all debts created at inflation prices into obli- 
gations payable during the prevalence of contraction prices — a con- 
traction enormously aggravated by the constant tendency of the coins 
to flow out of the Colony to the mother country. The result was a 
complete revulsion of fortune among every class of Americans. The 
favored official or lucky adventurer became rich, the industrious trader 
was impoverished, the creditor was lifted up, the debtor was cast 
down; and every sort of injustice was committed under cover of law. 
Worse than all, while the inflation had been gradual, and covered a 
period of many years, the contraction was made both sudden and 
severe. 

The Land and Silver bank notes were already retired; the provin- 
cial notes of the other American Colonies were decried ; and ;^420, 000 
of Massachusetts bills, which though demonetized in 1742 were still 
in circulation, were bought up and retired with about ;^4o,ooo in 
coins. The effect was frightful. Ruin stalked in every home; the 
people could not pay their taxes; and were obliged to see their prop- 
erty seized by the sheriff and sold at one-tenth its previous value. 
Commerce was annihilated; and in its place was substituted a petty 
barter that was maintained with "country pay." Even the taxes 
were obliged to be collected in kind. In the face of this great dis- 
tress the governor relented so far as to permit ;^3,ooo in small notes 
to be issued for change; but from the beginning to the end of his 
administration he never faltered a moment in the execution of the 
orders he had received; and these were to destroy the fiduciary issues 
of the Colonies without regard to consequences. The Colonists 
were to create wealth; it was reserved for Englishmen to exchange 
and enhance it. 



84 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Driven into a corner and deprived of all hope of such a stay of 
prices as would enable them to effect their exchanges and pay their 
debts without sacrificing their entire fortunes, the people replied to 
these measures with subterfuge, violence and defiance of the law. 
In 1755 large quantities of base coins were imported from France; 
in 1760 counterfeit " cobs," or dollars, were fabricated at Scarbo- 
rough; in 1 76 1 the Assembly admitted that counterfeiting had become 
rife; and in 1762 it was deemed necessary to pass an Act with almost 
capital penalties against the commission of this offense. In 1751 a 
Riot Act was passed to suppress the outbreaks occasioned by the 
Resumption Act; tumultuous assemblies occurred in and near Boston; 
and the people of Abingdon broke into open revolt. 

At this point the Royal government made a concession. To have 
refused to make it, would have precipitated the Revolution at once; 
for the people had been pushed to the last point of forbearance. 
Says a writer on the currency : ' ' Their prosperity had been checked, 
their trade destroyed, their property sold under the hammer, many 
of them had been driven away and the remainder were oppressed 
with a load of taxes which were payable in unattainable coins. They 
were ripe for revolt. The concession now made to them merely 
postponed the Revolution; it did not remove its causes." 

On April 24, 1751, a bill had passed the Assembly authorizing the 
Treasurer to liquidate the current expenses of the Colony by the 
issue of interest-bearing certificates of indebtedness in denominations 
of ;£(i (afterwards ^^4) payable in one year. To this bill the gov- 
ernor had yielded a reluctant consent. Its operation afforded 
immediate relief to the affairs of the Colony, for to the surprise of 
the governor and possibly also to that of the Assembly, these certifi- 
cates circulated freely among the people as money. So soon as this 
practice became known in London it was attempted to be stopped. In 
June, 175 1, the Parliament of England forbade the circulation of 
the Colonial debt certificates as money; and to leave no excuse for 
thus employing them, measures were taken to encourage loans of 
metallic money to the Colony of Massachusetts upon long bonds, 
which were to be liquidated out of the proceeds of future Colonial 
revenues. But loans of money with a string tied to each coin was 
not what the Americans desired. They had had enough of that sort 
of relief. Their Treasurer's certificates were quite good enough for 
them; and in spite of Parliament, these circulated as money so 
freely that by the year 1766 not less than ^157,000 in this "illegiti- 
mate " currency was afloat. Mr. Felt hints at a much higher figure, 



BRITISH COLONIAL MONEYS. 85 

but I can see no reason to follow him. The emission of these notes 
eventually led to such an improvement of affairs that in 1774 Gov. 
Hutchinson remarked in his message: " There never has been a time 
since the first settlement of the country when the Treasury has been 
in so good a state as it now is." But the Colony had not forgotten 
the sufferings it had endured through the monetary policy which this 
very man had done so much to enforce; and at the moment that he 
wrote this complacent sentence it was preparing to throw off forever 
the shackles which had been imposed upon it by British policy and 
British legislation. All that was needed was a plausible pretext, and 
that it found in the Stamp Act. 

The monetary history of the other American Colonies possesses 
so many features in common with that of Massachusetts that in this 
work it is not deemed necessary to follow it. Said Mr. F. P. Dewess 
in a letter on this subject written November 7, 1895 • " Ii^ ^^e early 
days of Virginia, the policy of England had drained the Colony of 
metallic money. A medium of exchange was necessary. Scrip was 
issued receivable in payment of taxes. The amount issued was triple 
the amount of taxes required to be paid, but there was a use for the 
scrip other than the payment of taxes, and the whole of it constitut:;d 
a useful circulation, notwithstanding that there was no coin redemp- 
tion. Prior to the Revolution, by reason of the drainage of metallic 
money, legal-tender Bills of Credit were issued by the several Colo- 
nies. With this as money, prosperity followed. An attempt was 
made by England to abolish this currency and the discontent follow- 
ing, among other causes, precipitated the Revolution." 

With the breaking out of the Revolution the monetary history of 
the American States took an entirely new turn. We have hitherto 
dealt with the Pine Tree Coinage and the Colonial Bills of Credit, 
We have next to deal with the Continental notes. 



86 



CHAPTER XII. 



WAMPUM, 



Wampum were used by the Indians for ornaments and mementos ; by the whites 
and afterwards by the Indians, for money — Bermuda copper coins of 1612 — Country 
pay and wampum the principal medium of exchange until paper money was adopted. 

SOME authorities have held that among the American Indians, 
and upon those occasions when exchange was not effected di- 
rectly or by barter, there circulated bits of agate, cornelian, jasper, 
chalcedony, bone, and shells, which, being generally prized among 
these isolated and warring people, rudely fulfilled the office of money. 
With the more advanced tribes of Indians, those who followed a leader 
of something more than local sway, or who, one with another, pos- 
sessed some common policy of life, and whose habits were more 
social or more commercial than the rest, the usual measure of value 
is said to have been wampum. 

It is unfortunate for this view that the facts do not altogether 
agree with it. The bits of stone alluded to were not money They 
had no common currency among the Indians, eitherthrough the force 
of law or custom. They had no commonly recognized value, how- 
ever rude or variable. They had no mark of authority. They had 
no common denomination; no common stamp or seal; and no Indian 
could be compelled to accept them in trade; in short, they were not 
"legal tender " among the natives. They were objects of barter, 
not media of purchase-and-sale, and when once they exchanged 
hands there was no assurance that they would be accepted a second 
time. 

Exchanges among the Indians were very rare, for they had but 
little to exchange. Such exchanges were commonly made without 
any reference to these substances, and when these exchanged hands, 
it was not for other things, but for their own usefulness or beauty, 
and the pleasure or advantage of possessing them. They were gems, 
toys, charms, ornaments, trinkets, tokens of friendship, souvenirs, 
or memorials, but not money. 

Before North America was colonized by Europeans, the wild tribes 



WAMPUM. 87 

who, by the way, dwelt chiefly upon the banks o^ its rivers and lakes, 
used to make for themselves beads of wood, stained either black or 
white. These being strung upon threads, were knotted or sewn into 
necklaces, belts, wallets and other articles of wear or ornament. 
Others of these beads were wrought of mussel shells and were more 
highly esteemed on account of their greater beauty, durability and 
difficulty of fabrication. These beads were called wampum, and the 
belts made of them were worn by the chiefs and employed to com- 
memorate important events and solemn occasions, as the making of 
a promise or treaty, or as a token of good will and amity. 

When the whites came to understand this, they employed similar 
tokens of friendship, by making strings of wampum and offering them 
to the Indians as presents or in trade. The Dutch appear to have 
employed wampum for these purposes shortly after they settled New 
York. So early as 1628 Governor Bradford, of Massachusetts, speaks 
of the " trade of wampum." They were made largely by the whites 
of New England, who exported them to the Dutch settlements in such 
number that their value continuously declined, and this caused great 
inconvenience to the New Netherlanders. In New York or New 
Netherlands in 1627 wampum was current at 5 shillings the fathom; 
in 1 641 unpolished or unstrung wampum went by law at 5 to 6 to the 
stiver; polished, 4 to the stiver; in 1650 (May) 8 whiteor 4 black un- 
strung, or 6 white and 3 black strung, went to the stiver. In Sep- 
tember, 1650, "poor "wampum was limited in legal tender to 12 
guilders; "half and half" to 24 guilders; "two-thirds" good, to 50 
guilders. In 1657, owing to the great abundance of wampum and 
the consequent rise of prices (in wampum) they were demonetized in 
the New Netherlands by tale and ordered to be paid by measure. 
For odd amounts each white wampum was to pass for one-eighth of 
a stiver and each black one for one-fourth. But this law seems to 
have been repealed. In 1657 a stiver was worth 6 to 8 white, or 3 to 
4 black wampum. Beaver skins were current at 8 guilders in wam- 
pum. In 1658, though the wampum mamtained their previous value in 
stivers, beaver skins rose to double, or 16 guilders in wampum. In 
1659 wampum were current at 16 to 24 white, or 8 to 12 black, per 
stiver, while beaver skins rose to 20 and even 24 guilders in wampum. 
The Dutch Court of Directors now declared that wampum were re- 
fused by all the Indian tribes except those of New England. In 1693 
the ferryage from New York to Brooklyn was 8 stivers in wampum, 
or two "pence " (stivers) in silver. At this period the New England 
"pine-tree" coins were common, and as they acceptably supplanted 



88 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

wampum for small change, the latter gradually fell into disfavour. 
However, they continued to be used for many years afterwards. 

The typical and commemorative character of wampum, as used by 
the Indians before the whites instituted them for money, is shown by 
several examples. Thus, in the early days of Philadelphia, a citizen 
of that town gave an Indian a string of wampum with the words : "I 
am your friend and will serve you to the utmost of my power. " Forty 
years after, the Indian returned the string with these words : ' 'Brother, 
you gave me this string of wampum, saying, ' I am your friend and 
will serve you to the utmost of my power.' I am now aged, infirm 
and poor; do now as you promised," and we are told that the white 
man honourably kept his word. 

Thus also, in 1682, a belt 26 by nine inches in size, consisting of 
18 strings of wampum, was given by the Indians of Pennsylvania to 
William Penn, as a token of amity. 

In 1722 Sir William Keith, upon the making of a treaty with the 
Five Nations at Conestoga, presented them with two belts of wampum, 
accompanied by words expressive of the commemorative character 
of the gift. In 1758 Frederick Christian Post, being sent by Governor 
Denny, of Pennsylvania, to make a treaty with the Alleghany Indians, 
and knowing their customs, deemed it expedient to present them with 
two peace-belts of wampum, upon one of which the beads of wampum 
were so arranged by colours as to represent the delivery of a peace- 
belt, while the other belt was delivered with these words: "By this 
belt I make a road (free pass) for you, and invite you to come to 
Philadelphia," etc. 

At the Cincinnati meeting of the American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science, in August, 1881, Mr. Horatio Hale, of Clinton, 
Ontario, Canada, read a paper on Hiawatha and the Iroquois Con- 
federation, in which he traced the real history of this "law-giver of 
the stone age," entirely from the wampum belt which he handled, 
than which there could scarcely be a stronger proof that among the 
Indians wampum were used for commemorative purposes and not as 
money, until the whites gave them this character. 

Speaking generally of the typical character of wampum, it is said 
that: "The brown or deep violet, called 'black' by the Indians, 
always means something of severe or doubtful import, but white 
is the colour of peace." Thus, if a string or belt of wampum is in- 
tended to confirm a warning against evil or an earnest reproof, it is 
delivered in black. When a nation is called upon to go to war or 
war declared against it, the belt is black, or marked with red, called 



WAMPUM. 89 

by them the colour of blood, having in the middle the figure of a 
hatchet in white wampum.' 

Out of these uses of wampum there soon grew another. From 
peace offerings and presents in trade, they came to be employed as a 
sort of money, which the whites paid to the Indians for game and 
peltries. As little by little the arts of civilized life were unfolded to 
them by their conquerors and tutors, wampum were employed amongst 
the Indians themselves to conduct the few and simple exchanges that 
now sprang up amongst them. 

At that time wampum, though made chiefly by the Yankees and 
the Dutch, who had probably already made similar beads for the 
African trade'' were also made by the Indians, chiefly by the Pequots 
and Narragansetts. Their ready acceptance by the Indians for pel- 
tries, coupled with the scarcity of coins in the colonies, next led to 
wampum being used amongst the whites themselves for money, just 
as at another time they used musket balls for a like purpose. They 
were legal tender to a limited extent, generally about five shillings, 
and continued in circulation until about the middle of the i8th cen- 
tury, when the savages, having become satiated with them and their 
manufacture -having exceeded the demand for them, they accumu- 
lated, became redundant and fell so low in value as to become prac- 
tically worthless. 

The following table shows the value of wampum in the money of 
the New England colonies from time to time: Massachusetts, 1628, 
whites, 6 a penny; one fathom, 5 shillings; 1637, 6 to 12 a penny; 
1640, whites, 4 a penny; blacks, 2 a penny; 1641, 6 to 10 a penny; 
1648, all payable wampum to be strung; 1649, wampum refused for 
"rates" or taxes; 1649, wampum refused by colonial tr£asurer; 1650, 
whites, 8 a penny; blacks, 4 a penny; legal tender up to 40 shillings; 
1661, the act of 1650 repealed; 1655, whites, 6 a penny; 1704, wam- 
pum still in use as small change; 1755 to 1775, wampum, 6 a penny. 
Connecticut, 1640, whites, 6 a penny; blacks, 4apenny; 1645, whites, 
6 a penny; blacks, 3 a penny. Rhode Island, 1673, whites, 6 a penny, 
blacks, 3 a penny. 

There are many authors who regard wampum as having been used 

• Wampum is an Iroquois word signifying a mussel. Among the whites it was com- 
monly written in the plural. "Contributions to American History," pp. 215-229. 

^ The borjooks.or beads, used as small change in Abyssinia, resemble inuse thatgiven 
to wampum by the whites of America. Kelly's '" Cambist," vol. i, p. i. Similar beads 
with a similar use, called sofi, are still employed by the venatic and semi-agricultural 
tribes of Africa, Stanley's " Through the Dark Continent." 



90 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

as money among the Indians previous to the arrival of the whites, 
and who suppose that the latter learned this use of them from the 
former, but such is not the conclusion to which my reading has led. 
Moreover, it is difficult to believe that venatic tribes should have 
found it necessary to use money. They had nothing to exchange. 
Each man made his own garments, his own weapons, his own tent 
and his own utensils. They rarely encountered other Indians (unless 
they were relatives or clansmen), except to fight them. A few tribes 
cultivated a scanty growth of corn, but for the most part the Indians 
of North America were wanderers and savages, who lived on the spoils 
of each other and the products of the chase. 

Another proof that in employing money the Indians imitated and 
followed the whites, is derived from the instance of Pontiac's money. 
Pontiac, chief of the Algonquins, while besieging the English in De- 
troit, in October, 1763, issued "notes" for the purchase of the supplies 
needed for his forces. These consisted of pieces of birch bark bear- 
ing the figure of the thing he desired to purchase with them and the 
device of an otter, which he had adopted as his "totem," or hiero- 
glyphic signature. These notes, it is stated, were promissory and 
were all paid and withdrawn.^ 

In this case it is very evident that the Indians imitated the whites, 
and I am strongly of the opinion that this will be found to have been 
the case with wampum." 

According to a statement recently made by the Curator of the San 
Francisco Golden Gate Park Museum, wampum are still made and 
used among themselves by the Porno Indians of Potter Valley, Cali- 
fornia. The shells after being ground, polished, coloured and drilled 
with holes, are valued at one cent to on^ dollar each. 

Among the earliest moneys employed in British America were the 
copper coins struck in England in 1612, and sent for circulation to 
Somers Islands, better known as the Bermudas. A few of these coins 
found their way into the circulation of New England; but the main 
dependence of the colonies for a circulating medium, until paper 
money was adopted, was " country pay " for large sums and wampum 
for small change. 

^ Quackenboss' History of the United States, 1861, p. 183. Appleton's Cyclopedia, 
first edition, article " Pontiac." 

* Among the authorities consulted were Felt, " History Currency; " Bronson, "Con- 
necticut Currency;" Palfrey, I, 611; Tompson, i, 85; Elliott, i, 137; Norwood on 
"Wampum," Albany, 1880; O'Callaghan's " Laws and Ordinances of New Nether- 
lands," Albany, 1868; and the New York Collection of Historical Manuscripts, which 
last contains the ordinances of the Director General and Council of New Netherlands. 



91 



CHAPTER XIII. 

PINE TREE, COLONIAL AND BANK ISSUES. 

THE three principal kinds of money which compose the circula- 
tion of the United States to-day were typified by the three 
sorts of money which formed the circulation of the British Colonies 
two centuries ago. The first were the Pine Tlree coins authorized by 
the Colony of Massachusetts, but issued, or withdrawn, as our coins 
are to this day, at the pleasure of private individuals. For this privi- 
lege the issuers of the Pine Tree coins paid a seigniorage of five per 
cent. ; whilst the issuers of the coins of the present day pay nothing 
either for their fabrication, or for the stamp and legal-tender function 
conferred upon them by the government, or for the privilege of is- 
suance, export, or withdrawal from the circulation. This is a mis- 
take of policy. " Free coinage " means unlimited, not necessarily 
gratuitous, coinage; and there is no good reason why the owners of 
bullion who desire to have it coined should not defray at least the 
cost of its fabrication into money. The experience of the Pine Tree 
coins, all of which were eventually melted down within the country, 
or else exported and melted down elsewhere, proves that a seignior- 
age of five per cent., though it may discourage, will not prevent, the 
melting or export of coins. 

The second sort of money consisted of the Colonial bills, which, in 
the respect that they were issued by government, resemble our 
present greenbacks. But unlike the greenbacks, they were issued 
by a dozen rival governments without any agreement between them 
as to the whole quantity to be issued; the issuing governments, that 
is to say, the Colonies, acted in this matter without authority from 
the Crown; they increased their issues from time to time without 
regard to policy, or prudence; they gave currency to one another's is- 
sues and thus still more imprudently increased the circulation in each 
Colony by itself; and finally the issues were so systematically and 
successfully counterfeited that it was impossible to distinguish the 
genuine from the counterfeit notes, or to save the former from dis- 
credit. 



92 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

The third sort of money consisted of promissory notes issued by 
private banks, or the individuals who controlled them. It has been 
disputed that bank issues formed any part of the American circula- 
tion previous to the establishment of the Bank of North America in 
1 781, but while it must be admitted that bank notes formed m con- 
siderable portion of the circulation, it cannot be denied that they 
formed some portion of it. The leather notes of San Domingo and 
Puerto Rico in 1586 mentioned by Lefroy, ' may be left out of view 
as not pertaining to the British American Colonies. But the various 
other private (bank) issues alluded to elsewhere in this work cannot 
be excluded from any comprehensive view of North American money. 

The reason why the early bank issues of the British American Col- 
onies were never important possesses a significance that entitles these 
issues to profound consideration. That reason was the unwillingness 
of the Colonial governments to share with private individuals the 
prerogative of money. The Colonists, in all their acts and resolu- 
tions concerning the subject of money, proved that they were well 
aware of its great influence upon, not merely the fortunes, but also 
upon the liberties, of the people. They well knew fhat to issue money 
was a necessary function of sovereignty; and when they resolved to 
issue it themselves they did so in a manner and to an extent that 
evinced their determination both to defy the authority of the Crown 
and to crush the incipient banks of issue which had been incorpora- 
ted under its patronage. 

Americans of the present degenerate age may imagine that their 
ancestors, because they were obliged at times to use " country pay " 
for money, were ignorant of its higher forms and still more ignorant 
of its principles and the relation of monetary systems to politics. 
But if so, they are mistaken. As shown in another chapter, the prin- 
ciples laid down in the great Mixt Moneys case of 1604 were well 
understood by the Colonists. The failure of the various private 
banks which preceded the Bank of North America was due as much 
or more to the hostility of the Colonial governments, than to any 
other cause. The American people were never favourable to private 
banks of issue, and they have only tolerated them upon such occa- 
sions as when — owing to a contraction of the coinage or of the gov- 
ernment notes — they were obliged to accept a dangerous relief rather 
than none at all. 

' J. H. Lefroy, of Bermuda, in the Numismatic Chronicle, 1867. 



93 



CHAPTER XIV. 

CONTINENTAL MONEY. 

Significance of theAmerican Revolution — Its inception and progress worthy of a pro- 
found study — It was demanded by the physical growth of the Colonies and their need 
of institutions favourable to further development — Foremost among these was a mon- 
etary system independentof the Mercantile system and the social circumstances of 
Europe — Proof of this view furnished by the monetary contentions between the Col- 
onies and Crown, the contraction of 1750 and the stamp act of 1774 — The first le^s- 
lation in Massachusetts, where the outbreak began, was to establish a paper money 
system in defiance of the Crown — This was likewise among the first acts of the Con- 
tinental Congress at Philadelphia — Character and history of the Continental bills — 
They were not legal-tenders — Originally Congress had no legal power to create money 
—The bills were issued in express defiance of Royal injunction — They were co-ordi- 
nated with the Colonial bills and various other moneys — No specific limit to the whole 
quantity of money — The emissions of paper were sometimes secret — They were ex- 
cessive almost beyond belief — They were counterfeited on a gigantic scale — History 
of the Continental bills during each of the six years of their career — Year 1775, emis- 
sions of bills by Congress and the several Colonies — Some conditions of their emis- 
sion — Estimated population of the Colonies — Currency of the Colonies at the close of 
1775 — Currency at the close of 1776 — Rise of prices — Flush times — Maximum laws 
— Counterfeiting — Year 1777, Beginning of the depreciation of the bills of credit — 
Counterfeiting — Years from 1778 to 1781. 

FEW events have occurred in the history of mankind of more gen- 
eral importance than the American Revolution. It was not 
merely the assertion of independent sovereignty by a few remote and 
obscure colonies. It was the establishment of an order of society 
which had been substantially forgotten for eighteen centuries; it was 
the separation of Church and State, and the extinction of the feudal 
system, and that too among a people with such natural advantages 
and opportunities of growth and progress, that this new order of 
affairs was likely to create a new empire, greater than that of all 
Europe. This revolution possesses such great historic interest that it 
demands a rigorous impartiality in tracing its inception and progress. 
In the execution of this task historians have hitherto paid too little 
attention to the significant circumstance, adverted to in a previous 
work,' that the New England Colonies, in which the revolution orig- 

' Hist. Prec. Metals. 



94 HISTORY OF MONEY- IN AMERICA. 

inated, were of an agricultural character, and for this reason, as well 
as from the political antecedents of the colonists and the expanse and 
fertility of the lands they occupied, they possessed a strong tendency 
to rapidly increase in numbers and productive resources. Such a 
community demanded the establishment of institutes favourabl*" to its 
rapid development and the removal of such institutes as threatened 
to retard or prevent it. Foremost among the latter was the institute 
of Money imposed upon it by the Mercantile system of Great Britain, 
This system encouraged the import and discouraged the export of 
the precious metals from England. Therefore, unless the North 
American Colonies could produce these metals from their own soil, 
which happily for posterity they could not, they had to be contented 
with such money as the Crown chose to provide them with. 

It is evident that with money, the supplies of which were subject 
to the power of a distant sovereign and an apathetic ministry, the 
orderly development of the Colonies was impossible, and hence fol- 
lowed those efforts to establish at first a silver coinage and after- 
wards a paper system of their own, which led to the contentions be- 
tween them and the Crown that distinguished the latter half of the 
17th and first half of the i8th century. The bitterness arising from 
this source was enhanced by the Contraction of 1750, and the pros- 
tration of industry to which it led. When in 1774 the Act was pro- 
mulgated which required a stamp to be place upon every instrument 
of commerce, and thus threatened to suppress or defeat that restor- 
ation of the paper money system which was at that time being sought, 
the bitterness of the Colonists grew to phrenzy and resulted in those 
acts of resistance to the Crown which have been dignified by the 
names of the "battles" of Lexington and Concord. 

Almost the first act of the Massachusetts and the Continental 
revolutionary assemblies was the emission of paper money in 
the teeth of the Royal prerogative, and this was done while yet 
the Colonies had no fixed determination of separating from the 
mother country. Indeed, barring Lexington and Concord, which 
were mere skirmishes to protect some trumpery stores, the emission 
of paper money was the first act of open resistance and defiance 
which the American Colonies offered to the Crown. On the ist of 
May, 1775, less than a fortnight after the opening skirmishes of the 
Revolution, the Committee of Safety appointed by the Provincial 
Congress passed a resolution, in defiance of the lately re-established 
prerogative of the Crown, providing that the "paper currencies" of 
the neighbouring Colonies "be paid and received within this 



CONTINENTAL MONEA, 



95 



Colony. " The following are the words of this important resolution : 

" Whereas, many of our brethren of the Colonies of Connecticut 
and Rhode Island are now with us, to assist us in this day of public 
and general distress, in which we are all deeply concerned; and 
whereas our brethren of said Colonies have brought with them some 
of the paper currencies of their respective Colonies, which have not, 
of late, had a currency with us, and for want of which our common 
interests may greatly suffer. Resolved, that said paper currencies shall, 
from and after the date hereof, be paid and received within this Col- 
ony, in all payments, to all intents and purposes, in the same propor- 
tion to silver, as the same are paid and received within the respective 
Colonies by which the same have been issued." 

Two days afterwards, to wit on the 3rd of May, the Provin- 
cial Congress empowered the Treasurer of Massachusetts to raise 
p^ioo,ooo (Colonial) by issuing six per cent interest-bearing bills of 
credit to that amount, payable June i, 1777. No bill was to be of a 
less denomination than ^^; and, as they desired the other Colonies 
to accord them ' ' currency, " it is to be presumed that they were made 
legal tenders in Massachusetts. Eight days later, to wit on the nth 
of May, Massachusetts asked the Revolutionary, or "Continental" 
Congress which had assembled at Philadelphia on the previous day, 
to endorse for her, the sum of ;,£"ioo,ooo in bills of credit, which she 
proposed to issue, so that she might be able the better to obtain cir- 
culation for them in the other Colonies. Pending the consideration 
of this request by Congress, Massachusetts on the 20th May, 1775, 
ordered the emission of ^26,000 one-year interest-bearing legal-ten- 
der bills of credit, chiefly of small denominations. The following is 
a copy of one of these notes: 

"Colony of the Massachusetts Bay. 

No May 25, 1775. 

The possessor of this note shall be entitled to receive out of the 
public treasury of this Colony the sum of twenty shillings, lawful 
money, on the twenty-fifth day of May, A. D. 1776, with interest, at 
the rate of six per cent per annum, and this note shall be received in 
all payments at the Treasury, at any time after the date hereof, for 
the principal sum, without interest, if so paid before the 25th day of 
May 1776, which notes shall be received in all payments in this Col- 
ony, and no discount or abatement shall be made thereon, in any 
payment, trade, or exchange whatsoever." 

Turning from the acts of Massachusetts to those of the Congress 
of all the Colonies, we find that the establishment of an independent 
monetary system was among the first measures they adopted. This 
immortal body met May 10, 1775, and on June 22 it resolved to 



g6 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

emit $2,000,000 in bills of credit, for whose redemption the faith of 
the "United Colonies" was pledged. 

The following is a copy of one of the bills emitted under this res- 
olution: 

" Continental Bill of Credit. 
No. 10 Ten Dollars. 

This bill entitles the Bearer to receive Ten Spanish milled Dollars 
or the value thereof in gold or silver, according to the resolutions of 
the Congress held at Philadelphia, on the loth day of May, 1775." 

Says Jefferson: "Before the 19th of April, 1775," the day suc- 
ceeding the Battle of Lexington, "I never had heard a whisper of a 
disposition to separate from Great Britain. The Colonies had not 
yet cut asunder the ties of their allegiance to the Crown. The Con- 
tinental Congress had sent a petition to the King denying any inten- 
tion of separation from England." But, although the Colonies were 
as yet uncertain of their course with respect to separation, there was 
no uncertainty with regard to their monetary system. This they had 
determined should be independent of the Crown and this determina- 
tion they had expressed in overt acts that had long marked them as 
disaffected rebels and were now to mark them as outlaws. Lexington 
and Concord were trivial acts of resistance which chiefly concerned 
those who took part in them and which might have been forgiven; 
but the creation and circulation of bills of credit by revolutionary as- 
semblies in Massachusetts and Philadelphia, were the acts of a whole 
people and coming as they did upon the heels of the strenuous efforts 
made by the Crown to suppress paper money in America, they con- 
stituted acts of defiance so contemptuous and insulting to the Crown 
that forgiveness was thereafter impossible. After these acts there was 
but one course for the Crown to pursue and that was, if possible, tosup- 
press and punish these acts of rebellion. There was but one course 
for the Colonies; to stand by their monetary system. Thus the bills 
of credit of this sera, which ignorance and prejudice have attempted 
to belittle into the mere instruments of a reckless financial policy, 
were really the standards of the revolution. They were more than 
this: they were the Revolution itself! 

There are several circumstances in connection with the Continen- 
tal bills which are worthy of observation in this place: 

I. — They were money only to a partial extent. They were not 
legal-tenders throughout the whole country. The Colonies did not 
clothe the Continental Congress with power over money, but retained 
it themselves. One by one and usually in return for an endorsement 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. 97 

of their own notes (/. c, so-called "Continental bills" allotted and 
given to or issued by them, and endorsed by Congress) the States made 
the Continental bills a legal-tender within their respective jurisdic- 
tions, sometimes at par with their own notes, sometimes at a great 
discount below them. Others of the states, like Massachusetts, lim- 
ited the legal-tender function of the Continental bills to one dollar, 
or, like Virginia, practically destroyed it altogether, by boundless 
emissions of their own notes, which were made co-ordinate with 
them. The progress of monetization was so slow that so late as Jan- 
uary 14th, 1777, Congress felt constrained to appeal to the States to 
fully accord the function of legal-tender to its bills. 

II. — The Continental Congress had no legal power to create money 
and no physical power to maintain or enforce its circulation after it 
had been created. It could not redeem the notes in taxes. Congress 
was a revolutionary body liable to be suppressed at any moment. It 
was without any legal authority, either from Great Britain or from its 
constituent States, to create money. This power was first granted by 
the Articles of Confederation, which although they were provision- 
ally agreed upon in 1777 were not ratified by all the states until 1781, 
by which time the Continental bill system was superseded by coins. 
The circumstances of Congress were such, (for example, it had no 
power to levy taxes), that it could not refrain from continuing to 
emit bills. Hence, it could make no positive limit to the emissions, 
and hence could not maintain the system. It had no courts or police, 
nor other physical means to enforce the acceptance and circulation 
of the bills, nor to prevent or punish counterfeiting. 

Perhaps in all history there never was a body at once so powerful 
and so helpless as this one. It exercised all the powers of national 
sovereignty, and yet never collected a dollar of taxes in its own right. 
It accredited its ministers to foreign countries, and received ambas- 
sadors in return ; but would have trembled to appoint a tax collector 
in Rhode Island or Delaware. It created armies, emitted money, made 
foreign loans, yet had no certain resources upon which to base any of 
these acts. In a word, it was at once a sovereign and a mendicant, 

III. — For more than three-fourths of a century the Colonies had 
been admonished that in emitting bills of credit they had usurped a 
royal prerogative, and for more than a quarter of a century, these 
same Colonies had been made the object of most severe measures de- 
signed to repress this practice and stop the circulation of the bills. 
To encourage the currency of Continental bills was therefore to in- 
cur the certain displeasure of the Crown. 



98 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

IV. — The lack of monetary authority on the pa'-t of Congress re- 
duced its emissions to the rank of those made by the various Colo- 
nies. As during the Revolution all these emissions were more or less 
co-ordinate, the position of the Continental bills was that of one 
series out of twelve series of paper emissions, all of them branded 
with disloyalty and rebellion and all, at one time or another, and 
finally all at one time, legal-tenders. 

V. — After the Continental bills had declined in value greatly below 
coins of the same denominations, Congress fixed a limit to their emis- 
sion; but there were no limits fixed to the emissions of the States, 
and consequently none to that of the whole mass of paper bills. 

VI. — There are evidences that the necessities of Congress com- 
pelled it to make frequent emissions of bills of credit in secret; so 
that, although in fact the emissions were within the limits of their 
authority, they were not within those of their implied statements to 
the country. Thus, although the various authorizations to emit bills 
added up $242,052,780, it was affirmed that the actual emissions out- 
standing at any one time were only $200,000,000; whereas in point 
of fact, they amounted to over $240,000,000. The emissions were 
so redundant that at one period during the war the mass of paper 
dollars including the State issues and other paper notes in circulation 
amounted to the almost incredible sum of five hundred millions. 

VII. — Colossal as this sum was, the sum of counterfeits was proba- 
bly still greater. Of this fact some evidences will be furnished during 
the course of this chapter. In short, the emissions of Revolutionary 
bills formed a measure of value without any known length, breadth, 
or depth. The six years during which the Continental bills passed as 
money will now be treated in their order. 

Year 1775. — On June 28th, the Provincial Congress of Massachu- 
setts, in the hope that the other colonies would give currency to their 
notes, made those of the other colonies current, and resolved that 
whoever should receive them at less than par " shall be deemed an 
enemy to his country." On July 6th, 1775, Massachusetts, through 
her Committee of Safety, resolved to issue ^,^1 00, 000 in bills from i 
to 100 shillings each. These bills were constituted a legal-tender for 
taxes within the Colony, and ran as follows: 

"Colony of the Massachusetts Bay. July i8th, 1775. No. 109. 
The possessor of this bill shall be paid by the Treasurer of this 
colony two shillings and sixpence, lawful money, by the i8th day of 
July, 1777, and it shall be received in all payments at the Treasury 
at all times. By order of Congress, A. D., B. E., Committee. " 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. 



99 



On July 27th, 1775, '^he Continental Congress authorized a second 
emission of bills of credit similar in tenor to those of June 22nd, but 
limited in amount to $1,000,000. It was intended that the bills of 
these two emissions should be "sunk," or redeemed with taxes, to 
be levied by the various Colonies. But this intention was not en- 
forced by simultaneous action or legislation on the part of the Colo- 
nies, and thus the emission of bills was unaccompanied by any 
definite provision to retire them. These $3,000,000 were emitted 
not so much to meet the requirements of the nascent government as 
to be divided and appropriated amongst the various Colonies on the 
basis of population. This division was made as follows: 

E/nissions of Continental Bills authorized down to July 2yth, ^77 5- 





Population in 


Proportion of Continental 


Population in 


Colonies. 


I77S- 


Bills in 1775. 


1783- 


Virginia, 


300,000 


$496,278 


400,000 


Massachusetts Bay, 


352,000 


434.244 


350,000 


Pennsylvania, 


341,000 


372,210 


320,000 


Maryland, 


174,000 


310,174 


220,700 


Connecticut, 


202,000 


248,139 


206,000 


New York, 


238,000 


248,139 


200,000 


North Carolina, 


181,000 


248,139 


170,000 


South Carolina, 


93,000 


248,139 


150,000 


New Jersey, 


138,000 


161,291 


130,000 


New Hampshire, 


200,000 


124,069 


82,200 


Rhode Island, 


58,000 


71,959 


50,400 


Delaware, 


37,000 


37,219 


35,000 


Georgia, 


27,000 




25,000 




Totals, 


2,341,000 


$3,000,000 


2,339.300 



The division of Continental bills made in 1775 was conducted upon 
the basis of the estimated total population of each Colony, including 
negroes and mulattos, and was intended to be rectified when the 
"list" or census of each Colony was obtained. Such information 
was, however, not received until several years later, about the year 
1783, when the "lists" were made up so as to include only two-fifths 
of the slaves and no Indians. It is from these lists that the fore- 
going tables of population are derived. The total number of slaves 
was about 500,000. In 1775, Georgia was occupied by the British 
forces and was not included in the appropriation of Continental bills. 

In addition to these emissions of Continental bills, the various 
Colonies emitted bills of credit of their own. Thus, besides the 
^126,000 authorized to be emitted by the Massachusetts legislature 
in May and ;,^i, 200,000 more in July and August, many of the other 
Colonies emitted bills of credit, of which the following is a partial 
account: 



lOO 



HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 



Colo7iial Bills of Credit emitted in i'/7S- 



Massachusetts, j. 


^326,000, say, 


• < 


$1 


,087,000 


Rhode Island, 


• • • * 






200,000 


Connecticut, ^\ 


50,000, say. 






500,000 


New York, 


• 






112,500 


Pennsylvania, 


• • 






420,000 


Delaware, 


• • • 






80,000 


Maryland, 


• 






535,111 


Virginia, 


• • • 






875,000 


South Carolina, 


 • • 


• 




? 


Partial total. 


• $3,809,611 



Neither the Colonial nor the Continental bills were general legal-ten- 
ders throughout the country. The former were sometimes only legal- 
tenders to and from the state and only within its jurisdiction, sometimes 
full legal-tenders within the state and sometimes full legal-tenders with- 
in several states, according as the various state legislatures admitted 
them to currency. The latter were legal-tenders sometimes in a few, 
at others in all, and at others again in only some of the states, ac- 
cording to local legislation. Any treatment of the whole mass as so 
much money of equal efficacy and value is therefore erroneous. On 
November 29th, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the emis- 
sion of $3,000,000 more in bills of credit to be divided up and appro- 
priated amongst the states. At the close of 1775 ^he condition of 
the currency was approximately as follows: 

Estimated Currency of British America at the close of 177^. 

Continental bills of credit, . . . $6,000,000 
Colonial " " " say, . . 3,809,611 

Coins; Lord Sheffield estimated ;^i,9oo,- 



000, say. 



Partial total, 



9,190,389 



;i9, 000,000 



Year 1776. — Thus far, the Revolutionary bills of credit had circu- 
lated at par and they were destined to do so for another whole year to 
come. Nevertheless, the Continental Congress on January nth, 1776, 
deemed it necessary to declare that whosever should refuse to accept 
them, or discouraged their circulation, should be treated as a public 
enemy. As Congress had no power to execute this threat it simply 
amounted to an exhortation to the patriotic to accord circulation to the 
bills, whether the laws of the several Colonies encouraged such circu- 
lation, or not. On January 5th, 1776, Congress authorized the emis- 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. 



lOI 



sion of $10,000 in bills of credit; on February 17th, it authorized 
$4,000,000; on May 9th and 22nd, it authorized the emission of 
$5,000,000 each time; on July 22nd and August 13th, $5,000,000 
altogether; on November 2nd, $500,000; and on November 2nd and 
December 28th, $5, 000, 000 altogether; total fortheyear,$i9, 510,000. 
Besides these emissions Congress, on October 3rd, 1776, authorized 
a loan of $5,000,000 for which certificates bearing interest at four 
per cent, per annum were given. It was expected that these certifi- 
cates would absorb the bills; on the contrary, they circulated as 
money, and thus augmented the quantity of bills. Meanwhile, the 
several Colonies continued to add to their emissions of bills. The 
following is a partial account of them: 



Colonial Bills of Credit emitted in 1776. 

Massachusetts, ;^ioo,ooo in interest-bear 

ing Treasury notes, say, 
Rhode Island, 
Connecticut. 



New York, 
New Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, 
Virginia, 
South Carolina, 



$333,333 
300,000 
366,300 

637,500 
133,000 

227,000 

415,111 
1,500,000 
? 



Partial total, ..... $3,912,244 

At the close of 1776 the condition of the currency was approxi- 
mately as follows: 

Estimated Currency of British America at the close of 1776. 

Continental bills of credit, , . . $25,500,000 

Colonial,say, $3,809,611 plus $3,912,244. 7,721,855 

Continental loan certificates, . . 5,000,000 

Private bank notes, .... ? 

Coins, let us say about . . . 6,778,145 

Counterfeits, ..... ? 



Total, say, 



$45, 



000,000 



This augmentation of the currency occasioned a rise of prices 
which afforded great stimulus to trade. "Flush times" are reported 
in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and several others- 
of the states. Unfortunately, the ignorance of the period in relation 
to the influence of money found expression in " maximum " laws, and 
laws of this character were passed in Connecticut and elsewhere. 



I02 HISTORY OF MONEY IN ^MERICA. 

Down to this date the Continental bills and therefore necessarily the 
Colonial bills, had circulated on a par with coins. They were here- 
after, chiefly through the influence of counterfeiting, unfriendly legis- 
lation by the several states, and excessive emissions, destined to 
rapidly fall in value. 

Year 1777. — In January, 1777, the Continental notes fell to a dis- 
count of 5 per cent, in coins. Congress, to avert their further de- 
preciation, declared January 14, 1777, that any person giving or 
taking them at less than their par value in coins was an enemy to 
liberty, etc., and recommended the several states to make the notes 
legal-tenders, a measure which had been adopted thus far only in 
some of the states. The declaration of Congress having no legal 
footing and being unsupported by physical force, was without effect. 
The recommendation to the states could only have validity so fast as 
it was adopted into their codes of laws. 

Pending the operation of these feeble measures, the British gov- 
ernment entered upon a course of action which at a single stroke 
suddenly and greatly impaired the value of the bills of credit and 
doomed them to speedy destruction. Fortunately for the cause of 
liberty, this policy took time enough in its operation to enable the 
states during the interval to achieve their independence by force of 
arms. I allude to the adoption of Counterfeiting as a military weapon. 
Some evidences of this action on the part of the royal government will 
now be adduced. The existence of counterfeits on a large scale 
probably dates from the year 1776, but little evidence of it is found 
previous to 1777. The presence of counterfeit notes induced the Mas- 
sachusetts House of Representatives on May 3, 1777, to recommend 
that especial exertions should be made to obtain water-marked paper 
upon which to print their bills, and they gave authority to officers of 
justice to enter and search any house suspected of containing coun- 
terfeiters' implements. On June 25th, 1777, a delegation was ap- 
pointed by the state of Massachusetts to confer with other delegations 
from New England and from New York, at Springfield. Among the 
objects of this Convention was that of devising means to arrest the 
growth of counterfeiting. The Convention met July 30, 1777. On 
July 3, 1777, it was recorded in the Secret Journal of Congress that 
a large amount of counterfeit Continental bills had been fabricated 
in England and brought to America in British men-of-war operating 
in the Delaware; and that the bills had been put into circulation. 
Regarding "immense" quantities of counterfeit Continental bills 
fabricated in New York and elsewhere under British influence, 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. lOJ 

Schuckers says: ** In a confidential letter toLord George Germaine, 
about this time (1781) General Clinton observed, 'that the experi- 
ments suggested by your lordships have been tried; no assistance 
that could be drawn from the power of gold or the arts of counter- 
feiting have been left untried; but still the currency, like the widow's 
cruise of oil, has not failed.'" Says Henry Phillips, Jr.: "It is a 
fact too well authenticated to admit of dispute that Gen. Howe aided 
the making and uttering of counterfeit Continental bills. In the 
same newspaper, in New York, in which the British ofificial docu- 
ments were printed, there were also printed advertisements proposing 
to supply counterfeit money to persons going into other Colonies, so 
nearly and exactly executed that no risk attended their circulation. 
Persons accompanying a British flag of truce were known to have 
made use of the opportunity for circulating the counterfeits; and 
emissaries from New York endeavoured to obtain from the mills paper 
similar to that used by Congress for its emissions." 

On October 13th, 1777, the state of Massachusetts, rather unpa- 
triotically it must be stated, passed a law limiting the legal-tender 
of Continental bills — bills which, it will be remembered, were awarded 
to that state by the general Congress — to six shillings, or $1, in any 
one payment. It moreover forbade the circulation of the bills of 
any of the other states after December ist, 1777. At this time Con- 
gress was "with an earnestness almost pathetic," appealing to the 
state legislatures to refrain from local issues. Massachusetts had 
borrowed on time-notes ;j^95o,4oo and issued ;^5oo,042 in bills of 
credit since the outbreak of the Revolution. Besides these bills there 
was a large amount of Continental notes in circulation within the state. 

Year 1778. — The Articles of Confederation between the states were 
agreed upon Nov. 15th, 1777, though they were not fully ratified until 
July 9th, 1778. This instrument conferred upon the Confederation 
power to regulate the alloy and value (denomination) of coins, 
whether struck by the Confederacy or the states, to borrow money 
and to emit bills of credit, and it assumed (Art. xii) the obligation 
to pay "all bills of credit emitted, moneys borrowed and debts con- 
tracted by and under the authority of Congress before the assem- 
bling of the United States." But the nascent empire had as yet no 
taxing power and no police to enforce its laws. These elements of 
political life were jealously retained by the states, who only granted 
them reluctantly and at a later period. These provisions illustrate in 
another way the halting opinions on money which were entertained 
at this period. To accord power to the states to emit coins or issue 



I 
104 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

paper money, was to permit the general measure of value to be aug- 
mented or diminished at the pleasure of the individual states. It was 
as though bushels, yards or gallons were to be of such dimensions 
as the various states chose to make them — indeed, as they did make 
them, and to some extent still make them. Such provisions clearly 
prove the weakness of the General Government and its inability to 
control its constituent members. The monetary emissions of the 
Government were bound to share this weakness and so might prove 
to be altogether invalid. " There was no bond sufficiently energetic 
between the members of our Union," says Felt, and especially true 
was this of its power over the currency. That such currency should 
have fallen in value is therefore no matter for astonishment. 

On December 3rd, 1777, information was promulgated which re- 
vealed the existence of various Tory associations formed to put illicit 
paper notes into circulation with the double view of making money 
out of the operation and of depreciating the Continental bills by 
adding to the redundancy of the whole mass of paper. On Decem- 
ber 19th, 1777, a great mass of counterfeit Continental notes fabri- 
cated under the orders of the British government were brought into 
New York by the fleet under Sir William Howe and put into circu- 
lation during the following year. 

Year i^/p. — The Continental bills were now so largely and suc- 
cessfully counterfeited that entire issues had to be recalled in order 
to save the system from immediate collapse. On January 2nd, 1779, 
Congress after stating that these bills "had been extensively coun- 
terfeited and particularly of late in New York, and spread through 
the country, enhancing the price of provisions and injuring our cur- 
rency," ordered that thereafter that the entire issues of May 20th, 
1777, and April nth, 1778, amounting together to $10,000,000, shall 
cease to pass current; but directed the states to receive bills of these 
issues for taxes, and to pay them into the Continental treasury. Mas- 
sachusetts alone paid in $800,000 of these bills, and it is presumed 
that of the whole amount thus retired by the Continental authorities, 
a large proportion was counterfeit. 

On February 20th, 1779, Massachusetts addressed a circular letter 
to the Southern states renewing an application which she had pre- 
viously made for food, particularly flour and grain, of which she 
declared herself destitute, and she called upon the Congress of the 
Confederacy to give her application the benefit of its endorsement. 
Seven months later, to wit, on the 23d September, 1779, she laid an 
embargo upon all exportations out of the state in order that the other 



CONTINENTAL MONKS'. 105 

States might not be able to purchase provisions and other commodi- 
ties in Massachusetts with Continental bills, the legal tender of which, 
it will be remembered, she had already limited to $i in any one pay- 
ment. 

On September ist, 1779, Congress for the first time set a definite 
limit to the emissions of its bills of credit outstanding at any one time. 
It declared that under no circumstances should this limit exceed 
$200,000,000; and to its great credit be it recorded, this limit was 
never exceeded. Nearly a century later, the American Congress 
made a similar enactment. On June 30th, 1864, it declared that 
the emission of treasury notes, or "greenbacks," should not exceed 
$400,000,000, and this limit was never exceeded. On both occa- 
sions, however, other things besides government notes were permit- 
ted to circulate co-ordinately with them as money; and the conse- 
quence was that the whole mass of money became so swollen and re- 
dundant as to occasion the depreciation of all of it, including the 
government notes. In the Revolutionary period this redundancy 
was occasioned chiefly by the Colonial bills and counterfeits; in that 
of the Civil War it is attributable to private or so-called "national" 
bank notes. 

Year iy8o. — The monetary system of the new Republic presented 
a curious phenomenon at this date. The Continental notes had a 
general currency throughout all the states, except where, as in 
Massachusetts, their currency was curtailed by local enactment. At 
the outset of the Revolution the Colonies had accorded currency to 
one another's emissions of bills of credit; but at subsequent dates 
this privilege was gradually restricted until the notes ceased to ob- 
tain currency outside of the Colony or state of their emission. And, 
since each Colony had emitted bills of credit without regard to the 
emissions of the other Colonies, it followed that in some Colonies 
these emissions were far greater and more redundant than in others. 
Hence a different scale or level of prices prevailed in each one. For 
example, prices were much lower in Boston than in Philadelphia, 
When the Continental emissions were augmented so greatly as to 
form the principal portion of the currency in each state, a tendency 
towards the equalization of prices betrayed itself, which the states 
with the least redundant Colonial currencies, hastened to counter- 
vail. This was sought to be accomplished by means of a device sim- 
ilar to that adopted by Massachusetts in September, 1777, namely an 
inland embargo. Such embargoes were enacted in New York, Con- 
necticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. On January 14th, 1780, 



■1 

Io6 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

Massachusetts, finding that the object with which her embargo had 
been enacted was defeated, and having been urged by Congress to 
repeal it, addressed a letter to the states above named, offering to 
repeal her embargo act, if they would agree to do the same. 

On March i8th, 1780, Congress, alarmed at the great and rapid 
depreciations of its bills, which now stood at 40 for i in coin, pro- 
posed to retire them by means of taxes to be levied by the states, 
at the rate of $15,000,000 per month. This would have retired the 
whole emission in the course of a little more than a year. They were 
to be received at the rate of 40 for i of coins; a feature of the pro- 
ject that had no real significance; for whether received at this rate 
or any other, the choice could have made no further difference than 
to have rendered necessary an alteration of the rate of taxation. The 
act contemplated would have been the same whether the bills were 
received at 40 for i or at i for i. That act was the demonetization, 
retirement and destruction of the entire emissions of Continental bills 
in the course of little more than a year. It was the suggestion of a 
madman. Meanwhile a new emission of bills was to be made, which 
it was hoped would circulate at par with coins. These bills were to 
be issued to the extent of one-twentieth part of the nominal sum of 
the old emissions brought in to the state treasuries to be destroyed, 
and were to be signed by the state authorities and endorsed by the 
United States. They were to bear interest at five per cent, per annum 
and were to be redeemable in coins in six years. They were not 
made legal-tenders. The following was the form: 

•' State of Massachusetts Bay. 
No. 7928. Eight Dollars. 

The possessor of this bill shall be paid eight Spanish milled dol- 
lars, by the thirty first day of December, one thousand seven hun- 
dred and eighty-six, with interest in like money, at the rate of five 
per cent per annum, by the State of Massachusetts Bay, according 
to an act of the Legislature of the said State, of the fifth day of May, 
1780. Interest, annually 2s. 4d. 3f. ; monthly 2d. i^f. The United 
States ensure the payment of the within bill and will draw bills of 
exchange for the interest annually, if demanded, according to a res- 
olution of Congress, of the i8th of March, 1780." 

It will be observed that in this bill, for the first time, Massachu- 
setts employs the "dollar" instead of the sterling denominations as 
before. Curiously enough, the interest calculation is made in sterl- 
ing. The denomination of dollars had been used in New York since 
1774, How, with the previous experience in bills of credit, the rev- 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. IO7 

olutionary authorities could have expected these bills to circulate at 
par with coins, is difficult to imagine. They were not legal-tenders; 
they were issued not in the place of the old emissions withdrawn, but 
in addition to the old emissions still in circulation, and oxWy promised 
to be withdrawn. They were issued also, in addition to the old Colonial 
and bank bills, besides the mass of counterfeits of all these emissions 
which had obtained circulation. The reason why they were not made 
legal-tenders, is not clear; neither is the reason for deferring their 
payment for so long a time as six years, unless indeed, it was the 
difficulty of making the public believe that any earlier payment was 
possible. 

Of the total emission of these New Tenors the states were to have 
the right to issue six-tenths and the United States four-tenths. On 
May 5th, 1780, Massachusetts issued under this arrangement ;^46o, 
000, at the exchangeable rate of i for 40 of the Old Continental 
Tenors ; but before the New Tenors could be paid out the Old Tenors 
had fallen to 75 for i of coins in Massachusetts and 120 for i in 
Pennsylvania. It was evident that the Continental bills were about 
to become worthless. They had been issued and used as money with- 
out authority on the part of Congress to make them money; the 
States had continued to authorize other emissions; the emissions had 
been excessive; and they had been successfully counterfeited to an 
immense extent. It is therefore not surprising that the New Tenors 
failed to answer the purposes intended.. Few people would take them. 
The soldiers had refused the Old Tenors and clamoured for coins, 
saying that they wanted no paper money of any kind ; and coins were 
actually coming into circulation. " Large quantities came from the 
French and British forces, some from Havana and other foreign 
parts and some from prizes captured in the West Indies." They 
passed freely among the population. 

Year ij8i. — On January i8th, 1781, the Massachusetts legislature 
levied a tax partly payable in coins; showing that at this date and at 
least in Massachusetts, coins were becoming the actual currency of 
the country. As going to show the extraordinary opinions with refer- 
ence to the principles of money which prevailed at this date, I here 
reproduce the views of the Massachusetts legislature on this subject: 
"The value of money, which is but a representative of property, 
will ever be regulated by the consent of the common people at large ; 
hence attempts of any legislature to regulate it must prove abor- 
tive." Three propositions are here enunciated: i. That money is a 
representative of property; 2. That its value is regulated by com- 



I08 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

men consent; 3. That the legislature, which embodies the common 
consent, cannot regulate it. 

If money is a measure of value as is commonly believed, the first 
of these propositions is untrue; for no measure can represent prop- 
erty; it merely represents a relation. If the second proposition is 
right, the third one is evidently wrong; but the second one is not 
right; for measures, (money being a measure of value) are not regu- 
lated by common consent, but by authority. Neither common con- 
sent nor legislation can fix the value of money in relation to commodi- 
ties. This is fixed by their relative supply and demand, over which, 
only so far as money is concerned, is legislative authority supreme. 
Another opinion current at the time was that of Pelatiah Webster. 
This author graduated at Yale in 1746, was ordained for the ministry, 
and at a late period became a merchant in Philadelphia. At the out- 
break of the war he met with considerable losses. Between 1776 and 

1790 he printed a number of pamphlets on the currency, which in 

1 79 1 were put together and published in a volume of 504 pages with 
notes, Mr. Webster in his essays lays down the following law of 
money: "I conceive the value of the currency of any state has a 
limit, a ne plus ultra, beyond which it cannot go, and if the nominal 
sum is extended beyond that limit, the value will not follow." This 
is a half-truth of the Metallic School which will be found fully re- 
futed in the author's "Science of Money." The Congressional 
declaration of 1779 that "paper is the only kind of money that can- 
not make to itself wings and fly " is attributed to John Jay. This is 
another half-truth; but, indeed, the times were full of them. The 
principles of money cannot be condensed into a sentence ; and all sen- 
tentious observations on the subject should be regarded with distrust. 

It should be mentioned in this place that the states (other than 
Massachusetts), which had demonetized the Old Tenor Continental 
notes had not, as was expected, retired them upon the emission of 
the New Tenors and that the value of these notes — which it seems 
were regarded as legal-tenders (see below) differed in the various 
states; giving rise to financial transactions embarrassing to mer- 
chants and detrimental to industry. 

On July 5th, 1781, the Legislature of Massachusetts demonetized 
the Old Tenor Continentals by forbidding them to be presented as 
legal-tenders at any rate whatever. They were valued at 500 to one. 
On May 31st, 1781, the New Tenors were three for one, and al- 
though placed under the ban of the State Assembly, they permitted, 
July 8th, 1781, their quota of them to be received at i^ for i. Yet 



CONTINENTAL MONKY. IO9 

on September 25th, finding that they had fallen to four for one, they 
demonetized them altogether and forbade them to be received as 
money. On November ist, 1781, the Assembly offered to retire them 
for coins at four for one. It seems that at the time of this rapid de- 
preciation, interest was paid on the face value of these notes in coins; 
proving that the depreciation was not due to any failure on the part 
of the state to keep their promises in references to them, but to the 
great quantity of all the notes in circulation. 

On October 19th, 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his forces to 
the American army before Yorktown, Va., and this event virtually 
ended the war. Coins were now in general circulation throughout 
the country. On May 26th, 1781, a bill was passed in Congress to 
incorporate the Bank of North America with privilege to issue 
notes. Subscriptions to the stock were completed December 31st, 
1781, and on January 7th, 1782, the Bank commenced operations. 

Never was a great historical event followed by a more feeble 
sequel. A nation arises to claim for itself liberty and sovereignty. 
It gains both of these ends by an immense sacrifice of blood and 
treasure. Then, when victory is gained and secured, it hands the 
national credit — that is to say, a national treasure — over to private 
individuals, to do as they please with it! A similar anti-climax is 
being urged upon the nation to-day. The Civil War was fought with 
the bills of credit issued by the general government, after all the 
private banks in the country had shamefully closed their doors and 
gone into bankruptcy, (December, 1861). Now that the war is over, 
these same banks, under new names, are urging Congress to retire 
the greenbacks and allow them, the bankrupts, to issue their own 
notes as money in place of the greenbacks which served the nation 
so well. 

That such measures were enacted by Congress a gentury ago, and 
that similar measures are entertained by Congress to-day, can only 
be attributed to the absence of such a body of knowledge on finan- 
cial subjects as would have enabled the statesmen of that day and 
as might enable statesmen of the present day, to profit by the ex- 
perience of the past. The Americans of the Revolution had before 
them not merely the chimerical Utopias which were dreamed of dur- 
ing the Halcyon Age of Europe, they had the historical examples of 
Greece and Rome. In all of these states, the main contention from 
first to last between the aristocratic and popular factions, arose out 
of and centered in the monetary system; that greatest of all dispen- 
sers of equity or inequity. In America there were no such difificul- 



no HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

ties in the way as those which had beset the great republics of an- 
tiquity ; no dissonance of races, language or history; no conflicting 
religions; no constriction of territory; no fear of neighboring inter- 
ference. The Colonists had practically an entire continent to them- 
selves. They had only to take care that the seed they planted was 
genuine and uncontaminated. Nature was certain to do the rest. 
Well, they planted; and now look at the fruit and see what it is that 
they planted! They planted financial corporations, a rotten seed that 
Rome had trampled under foot nearly two thousand years before; 
they planted private money, in which successively both Greece and 
Rome had found the germs of social decay; and they planted finan- 
cial exemptions from public burdens, whose offspring has already 
become a tree so mighty that it casts a threatening shadow over the 
land. In a word they planted another revolution.^ 

Hamilton estimated that the " current cash of the country " before 
the Revolution was thirty million dollars, of which eight millions 
were in coin. Webster's estimate of the coin was ten millions. W^e 
shall now review the effect of adding to it several hundred millions 
of genuine notes, a vast but unknown sum of counterfeits, besides 
smaller issues of some twenty other kinds of money. The Continen- 
tal notes bore the following legend: "The United Colonies. Three 
Dollars. This Bill entitles the Bearer to receive three Spanish milled 
Dollars, or the value thereof in gold or silver, according to the 
Resolutions of the Congress, held at Philadelphia, the loth of May, 
1775. Continental Currency." This legend was a promise to pay the 
bill with Spanish milled dollars, or else gold and silver bullion of equal 
value. The bills were therefore not money, they were not legal-ten- 

* Justice Gaynor recites the entire history of the Long Island Water Supply Com- 
pany; how it started in the then town of New Lots, with a plant costing less than 
$200,000, " but, after the demoralizing manner and vogue of our day and generation, 
with corporations possessing public franchises received as gifts from the community, it 
issued stock for $250,000 and bonds for $soo,ooo." When New Lots was annexed to 
Brooklyn the city officials secretly entered into a contract to purchase the plant for 
$1,350,000. He recites the foiling of this attempt through the courts, and tells how, 
even after this, it was only with great difficulty that a disinterested Commission could 
be got to consider the case. The award made was $570,000, which allowed the com- 
pany the highest figure. ' ' For my part I do not think there is any likelihood of the 
city taking the franchise and plant of this company until probably two or three million 
dollars are paid for it." Justice Gaynor continued, " I have followed the course of 
such things for years. If you will take the trouble to ascertain where the stock of the 
company is under a blanket, you will understand me fully. We do not even build a 
bridge across the East River without buying the right from some private company." 
JJ. Y. Times, March 2, 1899. 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. Ill 

ders; they were not receivable for taxes or any other obligation due 
to the State (for the assembling and actions of the Congress amounted 
to the erection of a State) ; they were simply promises, promises which 
patriots should never have required and which the Congress should 
never have made. We did better in the Civil War. The greenbacks 
contained no promise which was not dischargeable in themselves; 
they were legal-lenders for all purposes except customs-dues and 
interest on the public debt; they were Money. And behold the 
moral; the greenbacks, which promised nothing but themselves, 
were paid in coins, while the Continental promises to pay coins or 
bullion were never paid at all. At the same time it must be remem- 
bered that the United States at the period of the Revolution consti- 
tuted merely a nascent State, practically without resources, or credit, 
whilst at the time of the Civil War they were fully grown, rich and 
prosperous. If the definition of a perfect money is one that has no 
other possible use or function than that of measuring value, it goes 
without saying that such perfect money can only be maintained by 
a perfect State. 

The first issue of Continental notes were of the denominations of 
i» 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 20 dollars each and the total amount of the 
emission was two million dollars. The various systems submitted to 
the Congress were: ist, that each Colony should itself issue the sum 
of notes which should be apportioned to it by Congress; 2nd, that 
the United Colonies should issue the whole sum necessary and each 
Colony become bound to redeem its proportion; and 3rd, that Con- 
gress should issue the whole sum, each colony to redeem its own 
proportion and the United Colonies be bound to pay the portion 
which any Colony might fail to redeem. The Congress substantially 
adopted this last system. All of them were bad and this one was as 
bad as any. The resolution ran: "That the twelve Confederation 
Colonies (Georgia not yet being included) be pledged for the redemp- 
tion of the bills of credit, now directed to be emitted. " Each Colony 
was to promise to pay its proportion in four annual installments, the 
first by the last day of November, 1779, the fourth by the last day of 
November, 1782. We here perceive the germ of that Safety Fund 
system which was adopted by the banks at a later period, after the 
states had granted, for nothing, to private bankers the sovereign pre- 
rogative of issuing bills of credit designed to circulate as money. 

The various emissions of Continental notes and their value from 
time to time in silver dollars (that is to say, the sum in notes neces- 
sary to purchase one Spanish milled dollar) is shown in the following 



112 



HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 



table, the values in the second valuation column being the average 
for the first whole month which followed the date of each new issue: 

Emissions and Coin Value of Continetital Notes. 



Ordered. 


Emissions. 


For $1 in Coin. 


For $1 in Coin, 


1775- 








June 22, 


$2,000,000 


$1.00 


$1.00 


July 25, 


1,000,000 


1,00 


1. 00 


November 29, 


3,000,000 


1. 00 


I.OO 


1776. 








January 5, 


10,000 


1. 00 


. I.OO 


February 17, 


4,000,000 


1. 00 


I.OO 


May 9, 


5,000,000 


1. 00 


I.OO 


July 22, 


5,000,000 


1. 00 


I.OO 


November 2, 


500,000 


1. 00 


I.OO 


December 25, 


5,000,000 


1,00 


I.OO 


1777- 








February 26, 


5,000,000 


1. 00 


1.09 


May 20, 


5,000,000 


1. 00 


1.20 


August 15, 


1,000,000 


i.og 


1.75 


November 7, 


1,000,000 


1-39 


3.10 


December 3, 


1,000,000 


1.46 


3.25 


1778. 








January 8, 


1,000,000 


— 


3- 50 


January 22, 


2,000,000 


— 


3-50 


February 16, 


2,000,000 


— 


370 


March 5, 


2,000,000 


2.01 


4.00 


April 4, 


1,000,000 


— 


4.00 


April II, 


5,000,000 


— 


4.00 


April 18, 


500,000 


2.30 


4.00 


May 22, 


5,000,000 


2.65 


4.00 


June 20, 


5,000,000 


— 


4.25 


July 31. 


5,000,000 


3.49 


4- 50 


September 5, 


5,000,000 


4.00 


5.00 


September 26, 


10,000,100 


5.47 


5.00 


November 4, 


10,000,100 


5.37 


6.34 


December 14, 


10,000,100 


— 


7.42 


1779. 








January 14, 


50,000,400 


— 


8.68 


February 3, 


5,000,160 


— 


10.00 


February 19, 


5,000,160 


10.00 


10.00 


April I, 


5,000,160 


11.00 


12.15 


May 5, 


10,000,100 


13.70 


13.42 


June 4, 


10,000,100 


— 


14.77 


July 17, 


5,000,180 


— 


16.30 


July 17, 


10,000,100 


1S.18 


16.30 


September 17, 


5,000,000 


— 


20.30 


September 17, 


10,000,080 


— 


20.30 


October 14, 


5,000,180 


23.25 


23.08 


November 17, 


5,000,040 


— 


25.93 


November 17, 


5,000,500 


— 


25-93 


November 29, 


10,000,140 


26.31 


25-93 


Total, 


$242,060,780 





It will be observed that there are two sets of coin valuations at- 
tached to the emissions. The first one is official and is printed in 
the monthly report of the United States Bureau of Statistics for No- 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. II3 

vember, 1872, p. 212. This scale of depreciation is deduced from 
Gen. George Washington's Account Current with the government of 
the United States. The second set of coin valuations is copied from 
an unsigned article in Harper's Magazine for March, 1863. 

The American Almanac for 1879, p. 81, states that the maximum 
issues of Continental notes amounted to $359,546,825; but I am un- 
able to account for the difference, unless it includes the new emis- 
sions of 1 781, which were of a totally different character. Although 
the emissions of the Old Tenors ceased in 1779, the value of the bills 
continued to decline, so that for $1 in silver coin the following sums 
of bills (according to Harper's) had to be paid: Year 1780, January, 
$29.34; February, $33.22; March, $37.36; April, $40.00; May, $46. 00; 
June, $64.00; July, $8g.oo; August, $70.00; September, $71.00; 
October, $72.00; November, $73.00; December, $74.00; year 1781, 
January, $74.00; February, $75.00. 

In referring to this table two considerations must always be borne 
in mind. First, the Continental notes were not the only money in 
circulation; there were many other kinds of money; and more than 
all there were prodigious quantities of counterfeits afloat. These last 
did more than anything else to depreciate the value of the mass. 
Second, the quantity attainable of Spanish milled dollars was not 
constant, but fluctuated enormously, as when the British made them 
scarce by purchasing them with their counterfeit notes, or the PVench 
auxilliary troops made them plentiful by expending them among the 
people. Further evidences on the subject of counterfeits will now be 
brought forward. The attention of the American authorities was 
called tothe subjectof counterfeiting so early as August ist, 1776, when 
an ordinance was passed condemning counterfeiters of Continental, 
or of State bills of credit to be punished by having their ears cut off 
and being whipped and fined. But the counterfeiters were safe within 
British lines, where they plied their nefarious trade with the knowl- 
edge and connivance of the authorities. In 1775, the British authori- 
ties had begun to disseminate counterfeits of the Continental (paper) 
money, as they afterwards did in respect to the assignats of revolu- 
tionary France. Extensive counterfeiting also went on in America. 
Walker, on "Money," 330. 

In November, 1776, the British authorities atNew York permitted 
the following scurrilous advertisement to appear in the Gazette: 
"Wanted — by a gentleman full of curiosities, who is shortly gomg to 
England, a parcel of Congress notes with which he intends to paper 
some rooms. Those who wish to make something of their stock in 



114 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

that commodity, shall, if they are clean and fit for the purpose, re- 
ceive at the rate of one guinea per thousand for all they can bring 
before the expiration of the present month. Inquire of the printer. " ^ 

Great Britain was very confident that by ruining the circulating 
medium of America the people would return to their allegiance ; hence 
the desperation with which counterfeiting was practiced by the British 
agents. Soon after their issue, the bills of credit emitted by Con- 
gress were counterfeited and a nest of counterfeiters was destroyed 
at Cold Springs, on Nassau Island. The British officials also em- 
barked in the business. Gen. Howe abetted and patronized those 
who were engaged in making and pushing these spurious issues into 
circulation. "A shipload of counterfeit Continental money" says 
Phillips, "coming from Britain, was captured by an American priva- 
teer." . . . " Persons accompanying an English flag of truce are 
known to have largely made use of the opportunity for disseminating 
the fraudulent notes." The British government promoted the busi- 
ness of counterfeiting extensively, because it was thought that if the 
credit of the Continental money could be destroyed, the Americans 
would be obliged to submit, from lack ,of funds, to maintain their 
cause. (Bolles, 150-157.) 

May 8, 1777. " Some days ago a villain was taken up at Peekskill 
in New York, in whose custody were found 88 counterfeit Connecti- 
cut 40s. bills and one of 30 dollars Continental currency, badly done, 
being paler and fainter impressed than the true ones. Those of Con- 
necticut are done on copper plate, and are not easily to be distin- 
guished from the true ones, but from that circumstance the true 
ones being done at the common printing press. Another of these 
adventurers with ^^2,700 of counterfeit money about him is secured 
at Peekskill. It seems they were tempted to follow this desperate 
employment by the terms offered in the following advertisement taken 
from the Gaine's New York Gazette (Tory) of- April 14th last: " Per- 
sons going into the other Colonies may be supplied with any number 
of counterfeit Congress notes for the price of the paper per ream. 
They are so nicely and exactly executed that there is no risk in get- 
ting them off, it being almost impossible to discover that they are 
not genuine. This has been proved by bills to a very large amount 
which have been successfully circulated. Inquire for Q. E. D. , at the 
Coffee House from 11 P. M. to 4 A. M. during the present month." 

^ New York Gazette, November 28th, 1776. — Cited in Diary of the Am. Rev'n by 
Frank Moore, N. Y., 1880, i, 337. 



CONTINENTAL MONEY. II5 

Pennsylvania Evening Post, May 13th, 1777, in Moore's Diary, i, 
440-1. 

The wife of John Adams, writes May 9th, 1777 : "A most horrid 
plot has been discovered of a band of villains counterfeiting the New 
Hampshire currency to a great amount. No person scarcely but what 
has more or less of these bills." BoUes, p. 153. So many counter- 
feits were pushed into circulation, especially of the Continental bills 
dated May 20th, 1777, and April nth, 1778, that Congress resolved 
to retire the whole of these two emissions (and did so). Bolles, p. 153. 
The first notice of counterfeits by Felt appears under the date of May 
3rd, 1777. As this and tiie foregoing notices coincide very closely 
with the first depreciation of the notes, we are at liberty to conclude 
that such depreciation was due less to the quantity of genuine Con- 
tinental notes thus far issued, namely 30 millions, than to the infusion 
into the circulation of an unknown quantity of well executed counter- 
feits difficult to distinguish from the genuine notes. Under date of 
June 25th, 1777, Felt, 174, again notices counterfeits in the circula- 
tion. About July 3rd, 1777, the English imported their counterfeit 
Continental issues into the Delaware. It now began to be publicly 
suspected that these counterfeits were made, or authorized, or their 
issue connived at, by the British authorities; a suspicion that did 
much to injure the credit of the genuine notes. About December 
19th, 1777, counterfeits circulated by the agents of Sir William Howe, 
began to make their appearance. 

In 1778, a quantity of counterfeit American bills of credit on the 
way from Scotland to New York was captured by an American pri- 
vateer and destroyed. "Hist. Colonial Paper Money. " In January, 
1779, counterfeits had become so numerous that, as before stated. 
Congress recalled and destroyed certain entire emissions of genuine 
notes. Among these was the issue of April nth, 1778, of which it is 
believed but a single note is extant at the present day. 

In the " Penn. Packet," published March 13th, 1779, is the follow- 
ing: ." The unnatural enemies of this country, not satisfied with their 
frequent but fruitless attempts to destroy the credit of our paper 
currency, have, at length, introduced large sums of counterfeit Half 
Joes and Dollars amongst us, in order to buy up the paper money and 
thereby stamp a discredit upon it; but thank God this villainy has 
been detected in its bud, though the perpetrators of the same are 
still unknown. The Half Johannes are admirably well imitated and 
require the nicest observation to distinguish the genuine from the 
counterfeit." (Bolles, p. 156.) 



Il6 HISTORY OF MONEY IN AMERICA. 

We have now to consider the various kinds of money that were in 
circulation in the American Colonies or states during the period when 
the Continental notes were issued, that is to say 1775-81, These 
were: i. Gold and silver coins. Of these the estimates vary from 8 
to 10 million dollars; but they began to disappear from circulation 
in 1777 and by 1778 they were no longer to be seen. 2. Copper coins. 
These remained in circulation until 1779, but there is no estimate of 
the quantity. 3. Colonial notes or bills of cridit. 4. Counterfeit 
Colonial notes. 5. Continental notes, as per table. 6. Secret issues 
of Continental notes. Schuckers, III, says about $58,000,000,000. 
7. Counterfeit Continental notes. 8. Continental 4 per cent, loan 
certificates, 1776. These circulated for a time as money. 9. Quarter- 
master's certificates circulating as money. Schuckers, 69. 10. Reg- 
isters' certificates circulating as money. Schuckers, 85. Loan-oiifice 
certificates. Schuckers, 107. 11. Lottery tickets circulating as money, 
1776. Schuckers, 20. An issue was made in 1782, Bronson, 104, 
12. Notes issued by private banks authorized by the various colonies 
or states. Amount not known.* 13. Tory notes, 1777. 14. Private 
bills of exchange for small sums, intended to circulate as money. 
15. Private issues known as "tokens" or "shin-plasters," 1775. 
Schuckers, 73-4. 16. " Country pay," 1780 and 178 1. Schuckers, 62, 
6^, 95; Bronson, 124, 137. In addition to these various media of 
exchange reference is made in various authorities to coins employed 
in special contracts and to other exceptional moneys. 

That amidst this rabble of rival moneys, all struggling into the cir- 
culation at once, the Continental notes managed to retain any footing 
at all, affords one of the strongest proofs that can be offered of the 
vitality of paper money. Properly issued and guarded against coun- 
terfeiting, the limits of issue rigidly maintained, and the field left 
entirely to themselves, all other moneys being forbidden, these notes 
might not only have retained their original value, they might in time 
have advanced to a premium in coins of like denominations. This is 
the objective point toward which all paper issues should be directed: 
the command of a premium in coins of like denominations. When 
this object is once demonstrated to be within the compass of practi- 
cal attainment, the use of gold and silver coins as money will fade 
into the barbarous past. 

* With regard to the origin of private bank notes in America, see Appendix. 

FINIS. 



117 



APPENDIX. 

EARLY AMERICAN BANK NOTES. 

THE earliest intimation of Bank notes in the British-American 
Colonies occurs in Macgreggor, who asserts that about the 
year 1680 a "Land bank" was established in South Carolina. This 
date coincides with the period when Robert Patterson, founder of 
the Bank of England, was in America, and there may be some con- 
nection between the two events. 

Macgreggor also states that in 1662 silver coins were struck in 
Maryland. As a Bank of issue was established in Massachusetts 
shortly after the Pine Tree coins were put in circulation, it seems 
not unlikely that a similar institution followed the emission of silver 
coins in Maryland; though this conjecture is not supported by any 
evidence met with in the various authorities on Colonial money con- 
sulted by the author. 

In 16S6 John Black well and six others persons united to establish 
a Bank of issue in Boston, Massachusetts. 

In 1 715 a Bank of issue, based upon landed assets, was established 
in Boston by John Colman and others. Its notes appear to have re- 
mained in circulation so late as 17 19, and perhaps later. (Felt.) 

Private Banks of issue in Massachusetts are mentioned as having 
been established " upon a silver basis," during the term of Governor 
Belcher. 

Owing, among other reasons, to the coining of the Pine Tree money 
in Massachusetts, the Crown vacated the Charter of the Colony in 
1685, and a few months later Hull's mint was closed. (Bronson, 19.) 
So soon as this coinage ceased, the project of a Bank, which many 
years before had agitated the Colony, was revived. (Bronson, 27.) 
"A partnership was formed which circulated notes based on land- 
security." (Bronson, 27, citing Felt, 47.) 

In May, 1732, a charter was granted by the General Assembly of 
Connecticut to Thomas Seymour, John Curtiss, John Bissell, Solo- 
mon Coit and 57 others, under the name of the " New London Soci- 
ety, united for Trade and Commerce;" soon after which time the 



Il8 APPENDIX. 

Society began to issue Bank notes or bills of credit. The like had 
been done in Boston several years before. (Bronson, 43; Felt, 71.) 
The New London Bank notes were dated October 25, 1732, and 
were circulated "as a medium of trade current, as equal to silver 
coin at 16 s. per ounce. " Although this issue was "hailed by the 
business part of the community with delight," the legislature repealed 
the New London Society's charter in 1733 and issued Colonial bills 
in place of the Bank notes; thus retiring the latter. (Caulkins, cited 
by Bronson, 43.) 

In 1739, a Bank of issue, based on mortgages upon lands, was es- 
tablished in Massachusetts "to redress the existing circumstances 
which the trade of this Province labours under for want of a me- 
dium." In the same year was established a "specie" Bank of issue. 
Both of these institutions issued notes, but in 1740 the British Joint 
Stock Company's Act of that year was put in force by the Colonial 
government and both banks were compelled to commence winding up, 
though their notes continued to circulate for several years. In the 
early part of their career their issues amounted to abont ;^i 10,000. 
In 1742 the outstanding Land Bank issues are said to have amounted to 
^40,000, while those of the "specie " Bank amounted to ;^i20,ooo. 
'Alluding to the repressive measures of the Crown, Sumner says: 
' ' There can be no doubt that the bitterness engendered by this conflict was 
one great cause of the Revolution.'" 

PLAYING-CARD CURRENCY OF CANADA. 

In 1685 such was the dearth of money in Canada that the French 
Colonial officials found it necessary to make an immediate issue of 
paper notes. Rather than await the comparatively slow process of 
having the notes engraved or printed, they adopted the strange ex- 
pedient of cutting a vast number of playing cards into four pieces 
each and writing upon them sums in livres, to which they signed their 
names and official titles. In this manner about two million livres of 
paper currency were emitted, greatly to the relief of the Colony. 
This "playing-card currency," as it was called, circulated for many 
years, until in 17 14 it was partially or wholly paid off in coins or else 
in bills of exchange on France. (Weeden's " Economical and Social 
Hist, of New England.") 



119 



INDEX 



Act iS. Chas. II. c. 551, 62, 66, 75, 77. 
Alvarado, I'edro de, 38. 
Amazon, river, 16. 
America, discovery of, i. 

Exploited for gold, 20. 

Exploited by financiers, 20. 

Population of, 54. 
Anacaona, queen of Xaragua, 12. 
Appalachian gold mines, ig. 
Aquirre, Lope de, 18, 
Arabia, 2, 45. 
Aristotle, 74. 
Atahualpa, 52. 
Augustus CjEsar, i, 47 «. 

Bank, in the sense of accumulation, 67 m. 

Bank of England, 67, 75, 82. 

Bank of North America, 109. 

Banks of issue, 2,75, 78,80-1,83.91-2,117. 

Barbara Villiers, viii. 

Barter, 67, 75, 86. 

Bermudas (see Somers Islands). 

Billon coins, 59, 62. 

Bills of Credit of 1690, 79. 

Bills of Exchange, 3. 

Bodin's ideal Republic, 74. 

Bogota, 15. 

Boodle, bootle, buidel, 46. 

Brazil, 19, 30, 55. 

Buddha, 47, 48. 

Buffaloes, 40. 

Cabeza de Vaca, 34. 

Cacao-bean money, 44, 46. 

California, 34, 39. 

Callao gold mine, 26. 

Canada card currency, 118. 

Capsicum-bean money, 53. 

Carthage, moneys of, 50. 

Cathay, 3. 

Certificates (see Circulation). 

Charles II., ix. 

Chimay Indians, 21. 

China, 3, 46, 47, 48. 

Chisel money, 44. 

Church and State separated, 93. 

Christianity, 12,22, 24. 

Cibola, Seven Cities of, 32, 42. 

Circulation of Europe, (1492.) 2. 

Circulation of America, 80, 100, no, 116. 

Clipping of coins, 3, 61, 75, 77. 80. 



Cobs, a nickname for dollars, q. v. 

Coinage dies, 58. 

Coinage press, vii, ix, 61. 

Coins in currency, 107. 

Columbus, viii, 3, 11, 12. 

Coins, native American, 28, 

Colonial moneys, viii, 91, 99, 100. 

Constantinople, F'all of, 2. 

Continental moneys, 93, 99, 112. 

Contraction, 80, 81, 82. 

Copper mines of Lake Superior, 29, 

Copper more valuable than gold, 30, 53. 

Coronado, Francisco Vasquez de, 39. 

Cortes, viii, 4, 32, 38, 58. 

Cost of gold, 5, 55. 

Cost of production theory, 67. 

Counterfeiting by forgers, 3,45,58,71,91. 

Counterfeiting by hostile governments, 3, 

91, 102, 113, 115. 
Country pay, 71, 78, 92. 
Cross, The, 22, 35, 37, 40. 41 
Crozat, 71. 
Cuba, 6, 69. 
Currency {{see Circulation). 

Demand and Supply theory, 68. 

Demonetization, 81, 106. 

De Soto, viii, 4, 60. 

Discovery of America, i. 

Dollar, its origin and history, ix, 59, 60, 

84, 106, no. 
Dominican monks, 23. 
Dorado, El, 15. 
Dutch Colonies in America, 63. 

East India Company, viii, 66, 82. 

Embargo, 104. 

Encomiendas, ix, 9, 47. 

Equity bill, (so-called,) 82. 

Equity in money, 109. 

Essequibo, 15. 

Exchange versus Production, 83. 

Exchange and money, 67, 74, 75. 

Expansion, 82. 

Exploitation of America, 20, 64. 

Exportation of coins, 59, 66. 

Ferdinand, K., of Spain, 12. 
Feudalism in America, 9, 52, 53, 63, 93. 
Free, (unlimited,) coinage, vii, 51, 57, 61, 
62, 66, 91, 



I20 



INDEX. 



Galicia, New, 38. 

Gentes coins, 2. 

God, the White Man's, 12. 

Gold, 6, 10, 50. 

Gold coinage, earliest in America, 61. 

Gold mines, 9, 18, ig, 26, 39. 

Golden Valley, 37. 

Graves, plunder of {see Tombs). 

Greek States, money of the, i, 50, 109. 

Greenbacks, ill. 

Guiana, 15. 

Uispaniola, g, 60, 61. 
Hoondees, 3. 
Huacas {see Tombs). 
Hull, John, mintner, 76, 
Humboldt, cited, 4, 19, 25, 52. 
Hutchinson, British gov. of Mass., 85. 

Incarnations {see Messiahs). 

Individual, Private, Free Coinage, q. v. 

Interest-bearing notes, 84. 

" International " money, 66. 

Iron, unknown in America, 47, 53. 

Isabella, queen of Spain, 12. 

Japan, 3. 

King, Gregory, cited, 2, 
Knife money {see Chisel). 
Knight, Mrs., quoted, 78. 

Las Casas, bishop, cited, 12, 24, 54, 55. 

Law, John, 80. 

Laws of Money, {see also Money,) 75. 

Leather moneys, 3, 61, 78, 92. 

Legal-tenders, 100, 106. 

Limitation essential to money, 46, 68, 76, 

g8. 
Louisiana, 65, 69. 
£. s. d., of Roman origin, 47, 63. 

Maravedi, 59, 61. 

Marco Polo, 3. 

Maryland mint, 77, 117. 

Massachusetts mint {see Pine Tree). 

Maximum laws, loi. 

Measure of Value, viii, 2, 5, 75, 104, 108. 

Mendoza, viceroy, 38, 58. 

Mercantile System, vii, g4. 

Messiahs, American, 15, 40, 47. 

Metallic System, i, 94. 

Mexico, 44. 

Mines, native, {see also Gold, Silver,Cop- 

per, etc.,) 29, 46, 50. 
Mining laws, 50, 51. 

Mints, American, 45,58,69,72,75,77,117. 
Mississippi Company, 71, 80. 
Mita, The, 47. 

Mixt Moneys case, vii, 66, 74, 92. 
Monetary theories, viii, 107, 108. 



Monetary Systems : 

Aztec, 27. 

British, Colonial, 64, 73, 8g 

Chibcha, 30. 

Chimay, 30. 

Dutch, Colonial, 63, 87. 

European, 20. 

French, ii. 

Greek, i, 50, 109. 

Guatemala, 46. 

Mexican, 27, 30, 45, 47. 

Mound Builders, 27, 31. 

Natchez, 30. 

Peruvian, 30, 50. 

Roman, i, 109. 

Yucatan, 46, 47. 
Money, an institute of law, viii, 75. 
Money, perfect, iii. 
Money, a political and social institute, 31, 

49, 65, 74, 75. 
Money, characteristics of, 31. 
Money in Europe, (1492,) 2. 
Money, its eastward tendency, 70, 75. 
Money, state prerogative of, vii, 46. 
Moslem states in Europe, 2. 

Narvsez, Panfilo de, 34. 
Nationality, characteristics of, 49. 
Negro slavery in America, 20, 55, 75. 
Negro, the first one in America, 34. 
Nomisma, i. 
Norsemen, 3. 

Nuggets, extraordinary gold, 10, 
Nummulary systems, i. 

Painted men {see Pintados). 

Paper money, vii, 61, 63, 67, 6g, 71, 78, 

94, 108, 118. 
Patterson, Robert, 117. 
Paulus, cited, i. 
Pearl Coast, 17, 20. 
Pearls, 21, 23. 
Peru, 48. 

Philippines, 61, 65, 69. 
Phips Expedition, 79. 
Pine Tree coins, 75, 91. 
Pintados, 35. 
Pizarro, viii, 4. 
Politics of money, viii. 
Ponce de Leon, 58. 
Pope of Rome, 7. 

Population of America, 54, 69, 70, 80, QQk 
Pontiac's birch-bark notes, go. 
Prerogative of Money {see State). 
Private banks of issue, 109. 
Private Coinage, i. 
Puerto Rico, 61, 6g, g2. 
Purchase-and-sale, 67. 

Quantitative theory, 76. 
Queen of Heaven, 40, 



INDEX. 



131 



Quicksilver, 58. 

Quinto, viii, 3, 5, 25, 56, 58, 61-2. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 17, 73. 

Ransom of Atahualpa, 53. 

Ratio, 3, 58, 61. 

Repartimientos, 9, 38. 

Republics of Antiquity, 75. 

Republics in Europe, 73. 

Republics, ideal, 74. 

Revolution, causes of the American, 69, 

84, 85, 93. 9(^, "8. 
Revolution, the Future, no. 
Rise of Prices, loi. 
Rome, I, 7. 50. 51. 73. 

Safety Fund system, in. 

San Domingo, 9, 58, 92. 

Score, the, as a multiplier, 47. 

Scylates, 28. 

Seigniorage, 56, 58, 62, 76, 91. 

Sequin, or ducat, 45. 

Shirley, British gov, of Mass. 81. 

Sicca, 45. 

Skin money, 28. 

Slavery in America, {see also Negro,) 7, 8, 

ID, II, 24, 25. 
Somers Islands money, 90. 
Sociological principles, 76. 
Stable money, 68, 76. 



Star Chamber, viii. 

State control of Money, 2, 57, 66, 80, 92, 

95. 97- 
Supply and demand theory, 108. 
Sweating of coins, 75, 77. 

Talent, thaler, taler, dollar, 59. 

Taxation as related to money, 81, 97, 106. 

Terra Cotta money, 28, 44«. 

Terra Firma, 18, 20. 

Temples, wealth of the native, 52. 

Three Hundred Selecti, 36. 

Tin coins. 45, 46, 77. 

Tombs, plunder of, 5, 18, 52, 

Transvaal gold mines, 55. 

Ulloa, Francisco de, 39. 
Utopias, 73, 109. 

Venezuela, 15, 22. 

Virginia currency, 85. 

Votan (see Woden and Buddha). 

Wampum, 31, 86. 
Wealth, concentration of, i. 
Weights and measures, 61. 
Woden, {see also Buddha,) 48. 

Xiquipili, (Mexican money,) 45, 48. 

Zicca {^see Sicca). 



HG Del Kar, Alexander 

508 The history of money 

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